Pitcher Andrew Heaney, the No. 1 prospect in the Miami Marlins’ organization, can be expected to join the New Orleans Zephyrs this week, Marlins vice president of player development Marty Scott said Sunday.
Heaney, the Marlins’ 2012 first-round draft pick, pitches for the Class AA Jacksonville Suns. The move up to the AAA Zephyrs would come on the heels of his latest impressive outing Saturday. Heaney, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, scattered eight hits over 7.2 innings and allowed two runs with eight strikeouts and one walk in a 4-2 victory against the Pensacola Wahoos.
“We’re going to give it a lot of consideration, based on what he did (Saturday) night,” Scott said from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he was watching the Zephyrs’ series against the Sky Sox. “We’ll have some discussions about it (Monday).
“(Heaney coming to the Zephyrs) “certainly appears likely. I’m going to push for it.”
The discussion mainly will involve Marlins General Manager Dan Jennings, Scott and Brian Chattin, the team’s director of player development.
Heaney, who will be 23 on June 5, is rated as the No. 1 left-handed pitching prospect in baseball by MLB.com, and is No. 26 on the overall top 100 prospects by MLBPipeline.com. He is 4-2 with a 2.35 earned-run average in nine starts. In his past four games, he has allowed seven runs in 25.2 innings with 24 strikeouts and three walks.
Heaney could join the Zephyrs as early as Monday, but more likely Tuesday, according to Scott. His next scheduled day to pitch is Thursday. The Zephyrs begin a four-game home series against Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. Monday.
“We would like him to get there and watch the hitters before he makes his next start,” Scott said. “He’s done all he can do in AA. I’d like to see how he accepts the challenge in AAA. He’s progressed all along.”
Before this season began, it was speculated that Heaney might join the Marlins by midsummer, August at the latest. With Marlins young star Jose Fernandez having undergone Tommy John surgery Friday and out for the rest of this season, Scott was asked if Heaney may be moved up to the parent team instead.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about when he’ll get to Miami,” Scott said. “But we don’t really have a timetable on that.
“We would like (a move to the Marlins) to happen before the season is over, but we want to do what’s best for his development.”
Heaney was selected ninth overall in 2012 and was impressive with the rookie league Gulf Coast Marlins and at Class A Greensboro. Last season, he was 5-2 with a 0.88 ERA in 13 games, nine starts, at advanced A Jupiter, then 4-1 and 2.94 at Jacksonville in six games, all starts.
He has a 93 mph fastball, a slider that has a curveball motion and a change-up that is a work in progress. Scott said Heaney’s improvement has been obvious, however.
“He has more command of his pitches, more mound savvy,” Scott said. “His slider has come along. We wanted more command and more of a downward motion, going toward the back foot of right-handed hitters.”