Why I watched: Picked up some early and late starts with OK numbers.
Game(s) Watched: 9/25/14 vs Pirates
• The 26-year-old right hander threw two fastballs, a two- and four-seamer. Starting with the 90-92 mph four-seamer. It is fairly straight pitch with a bit of glove side run. It is about the only pitch he can throw for strikes. Here are his 2014 Zone% values :
Four season: 57%
Two seam: 40%
If he needs to throw a strike, it’s only the four-seamer. Some hitters seemed to be looking for it when they are ahead in count since his other pitches rarely go for strikes. While I didn’t notice it during the game, it does get an insane amount of goundballs (51% during the season).
• The two-seamer is a mph or two slower than the four-seamer with a ton of downward break. In the game, he got a few swing-and-misses with it and when there was contact, only groundballs were hit. On the season, the swing-and-miss numbers are league average, but the groundball rate is elite at 62%.
• His slider/curve (label differently across the internet) was around 80-82 mph with a decent amount of drop and glove side run. He used it a chase pitch once ahead in the count. During the season, it SwStr% was league average at 14.8%.
• He threw his change in the same velocity range as the slider/curve, but it fell the same amount with no run. He did throw it for strikes against same left-handed hitters, but again it is normally just a chase pitch (above average 16.7% SwStr% on the season).
Final thoughts: He was all right and the whole is better than the parts. He gets ahead with the four-seam fastball and then goes for the kill with the other three pitches. I like him as a potential starter in all leagues. In NL-only leagues, he is must get because he will contribute from either the bullpen or the rotation.
Why I watched: He really turned around his season after struggling with injuries.
Game(s) Watched: 9/22/14 vs Orioles
• The 25-year-old right hander threw a straight 90-92 mph fastball which sometimes has some glove side run (Pitchf/x sometimes labels it a cutter). It is not as dominating as it was in 2011 when it was almost 95 mph.
• His 86-87 change was a nice pitch with a late 11-5 break. Most of them ended up in the dirt. Only 28% of them have been in the zone this season. It is only a swing-and-miss pitch.
• The slider is still a thing of beauty. It is 86-87 mph with an 11-5 break. He can throw it for strikes (50% Zone%) or use it at a chase pitch (17% SwStr%). My only complaint is its high usage (34%).
Final thoughts: I think he is a nice option for 2015 as long as his health holds up. The slider is crazy good and I can see why he uses it so much. He would be an amazing relief pitcher, but can be usable as a starter. I am not going to be targeting him in 2014 (injury concerns), but if the price is right I would have no problems owning him.
Why I watched: Just another young pitcher with good strikeout numbers?
Game(s) Watched: 9/13/14 vs the Padres
• The 26-year-old righty had an unexciting 91-94 fastball. It had a bit of release side run which stayed up in the zone. It is not fooling any hitters and on the season has a 39% LD% off it.
• He also threw an 82 mph change. It doesn’t drop, but has some glove side run. It just comes across home plate 10 mph slower than his fastball. If the batter is fooled, they swing early as seen by a 22% SwStr%. If the hitter is not fooled, it has a 27% LD% and 15% HR/FB values.
• The final pitch is probably his best, a 76-79 mph, 12-6 curve. In the game he hung a couple and they got punish, but over all he got a ton of swing-and-misses and ground balls with it. The pitch seemed to have the best movement the slower he threw it.
Final thoughts: He has some OK thinks going on. He gets a good swing-and-miss numbers across the board, but the fly ball tendencies (40% GB%) in his home park in Arizona scare me. I think he is best used as a match up starter versus weaker teams or in pitcher friendly parks.
Why I watched: The top Marlin prospect
Game(s) Watched: 9/26/14 (G2) vs Nationals
• The 23-year-old lefty throws across his body. I don’t like pitchers who do this because they seem to end up with abdominal issues (Heaney missed time in 2013 with this injury).
• Additionally, the angle should give left-handed hitters fits while righties should do better against it. In the majors this season, he as a 6.78 FIP vs RHH and 2.60 FIP vs LHH. Right handers are also squaring up on the ball better. They have posted a .301/.364/.580 line against him while lefties have only hit .212/.278/.333
• His 89-94 mph fastball would come at a LHH (none in the Nationals lineup). It is straight besides the angle created by the 1B side release.
• His change goes on the exact same plane as his fastball, but at 82-84 mph. He used this pitch and the fastball to attack the strike zone. It isn’t an equalizer against RHH as it could be because it breaks the same direction as his fastball.
• His slider was nasty. He comes at hitters exactly like the change and then the bottom falls out. It is only a swing-and-miss pitch (27% SwStr%) as it is rarely in the strike zone (22% Zone%)
Final thoughts: I don’t like what I am seeing with Andrew Heaney. His unique release, amazing slider and destruction of LHH got him through the minors, but major league RHH are going to eat him up. I would rather own T.J. House and would not be surprised one bit if Heaney ended up taking the Andrew Miller career route.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.