Andrew Heaney will not allow his first few major league starts to define his professional baseball career.
Having been demoted after making just four starts before he was sent back to Triple-A New Orleans, Miami's top pitching prospect is not discouraged by his lack of immediate success at the major league level.
Heaney is 3-2 with a 3.68 ERA for New Orleans. With the Marlins from mid-June to July 5, he was 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA.
Heaney, 23, said he learned from his first call-up to the Marlins — and expects to be back.
"I’m not the first person to be humbled by the big leagues," he told MiLB.com. "It’s just about having the confidence to getting myself back to square one and really just resetting myself. Mentally, I was fine, but it was tough and you just have to strap it on every day.
Heaney pitched six innings in two of the four outings, but allowed five, four, and five runs respectively following six innings of one run ball against the New York Mets. Heaney struggled to find the strike zone at times and was plagued by the long ball, allowing at least one home run in each of his starts.
In 45 and two third innings with Triple-A, Heaney is 4-3 with a 4.34 ERA and 4.11 FIP. Heaney is a valuable pitching prospect who will likely be a part of Miami's rotation in the years to come, and for that reason, the Marlins refused to trade him before this year's non-waiver trade deadline.
With Jose Fernandez out for the year and Miami's rotation being inconsistent as a result of other minor injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Jarred Cosart, Heaney is a candidate to be promoted when rosters expand in September.
Instead of being disappointed, Heaney has been optimistic and pitched well, positive signs for a top prospect that did not see success immediately.
"They talked to me about various things to get back on track and get comfortable with my delivery and everything. As bad as I knew I was in the big leagues, and as bad as everybody said I was, people go about it in different ways. Some people cruise their entire careers and some people struggle early."