Andrew Heaney has had several opportunities to prove the Miami Marlins he belongs in a major league starting rotation, and will have one final chance to prove to the Marlins he should be with the big league club on Friday afternoon, when he takes the mound against the Nationals in game one of a day night double header.
Heaney, according to Craig Davis of the Sun-Sentinel, is confident heading into the offseason and believes he has a good chance to earn a rotation spot in 2015.
I'm glad they're giving me that opportunity," Heaney said Thursday. "Anytime they give you innings it's up to you to go out there and get outs. I want to prove to them that I can get outs and do a good job for next year and hopefully try to win a spot."
After losing Jose Fernandez to season-ending Tommy John surgery, the Marlins were hoping Heaney could keep them competitive in the front of the rotation. He struggled in four starts, though, and has posted a 5.33 ERA and 5.30 FIP in 25.1 innings. He has been plagued by the long ball, but hasn't allowed a run in his last four and two third innings pitched.
Manager Mike Redmond chose to keep Heaney in the bullpen instead of placing him in the starting rotation after he was promoted. Heaney, the Marlins' top pitching prospect, is expected to be a key part of Miami's rotation moving forward, and the Marlins rightfully wanted to give him time to develop.
After finishing the Triple-A season 5-4, 3.87 in 15 starts, Heaney has had only two relief appearances as a September call-up. But three scoreless innings (one hit, two strikeouts) against the Nationals on Sunday showed enough to merit the spot start in the doubleheader.
"We've got like eight or nine guys that are going to be competing for five spots. So it's going to be pretty crazy come spring training," Heaney said. "But I think that's good. That's only going to make your team stronger and make everybody feel better about what they've done."
Since the Marlins are no longer chasing a playoff spot, it is logical to see how Heaney can perform against a playoff team. With Fernandez not expected back until the All-Star break, Heaney may be among the favorites to take the third or fourth rotation spot. And if Heaney can become the pitcher the Marlins think he can be, Miami's rotation will be that much better next season.