After Joey Gallo kicked things off at No. 12 yesterday, college lefty Andrew Heaney is next up in our pre-2012 draft coverage of 12 Blue Jays draft targets in 12 days. Like we did last year, we’ll be hosting a live chat throughout the entire first round again starting at 7 p.m. ET, so make sure to pop by.
The players on our list are not who are considered to be the “best” players in the draft, but rather who could realistically be around when the Jays take the podium and who we would like to see the Blue Jays go after, with an emphasis on the latter.
Other articles in the series:
No. 1 – Lucas Giolito
No. 2 – Max Fried
No. 3 – Lance McCullers
No. 4 – Zach Eflin
No. 5 – Corey Seager
No. 6 – Courtney Hawkins
No. 7 – Chris Stratton
No. 8 – Richie Shaffer
No. 9 – Nick Travieso
No. 10 – Lucas Sims
No. 12 – Joey Gallo
2012 MLB Draft Preview
No. 11: Andrew Heaney
LHP | 20 years old / 6’2″ 175 lbs
Born: June 5, 1991
High School: Putnam City (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
College: Oklahoma State
Baseball America Rank: 17 (9th among pitchers)
ESPN/Keith Law Rank: 12 (6th among pitchers)
- Big 12 Conference pitcher of the year
- Semifinalist for Howser Trophy, which is given to the top player in collegiate baseball
- Has drawn comparisons to a young Jamie Moyer
Stats (via The Baseball Cube):
From a 2012 regular season game against the Texas Longhorns, via Perfect Game:
Heaney isn’t an intimidating presence on the mound by any stretch, and his slender build has been one of his biggest issues both in high school and his first two years at Oklahoma State. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays back in the 24th round of the 2009 draft, and at the time he measured an unimposing 6’1” and 145 lbs. Not only was his lack of muscle mass inhibiting his stuff from flourishing, but it also had a devastating impact on his stamina. Late in starts -– and even more so late in the season -– Heaney quite simply ran out of gas, and hitters took advantage. In both his freshman and sophomore years, he was sent to the bullpen late in the season, making a total of only 19 starts, with poor results (4.59 ERA, 1.54 WHIP).
Heaney made a concerted effort to bulk up entering his draft-eligible 2012 season, and the results speak for themselves. He made 15 starts this season –- with his last coming on May 23rd in a tournament elimination game, which his team lost –- completing six of them. It was an impressive feat for Heaney after failing to register any complete games over his previous two years.
Now standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 175 pounds, the scouting report is significantly more impressive than when he fell to the 24th round in 2009. His fastball sits 89-92 mph, touches as high as 95 mph and, unlike before, he’s capable of maintaining that velocity deep into starts. Heaney manipulates the pitch well, adding and subtracting to keep hitters off balance, while also producing impressive cut and sink against right handed batters. He’s not afraid to pitch inside with the fastball, a trait that has become far too rare in this generation of pitchers. Heaney’s primary breaking ball is a slurve, though some have called it a slider and others even a screwball. He throws the pitch around the 80 mph mark, and it shows good depth and sharp bite. Rounding out the arsenal is a changeup that Heaney shows a good feel for. It has a similar velocity to that of his slurve, and looks a lot like his fastball coming out of his hand -– that is, until it the bottom falls out. There is still plenty of growth left, however, as Heaney won’t turn 21 years old until day two of the draft.
Scouts have always loved Heaney’s mechanics, as he has a clean and effortless delivery that he repeats extremely well, though his front leg can get a little stiff at times. His arm action is quick coming out of a 3/4 arm slot, and Heaney will even drop down to a near-sidearm delivery a few times each game to keep hitters off balance. The mechanical consistency has helped with his command, which is above average to plus with all three of his pitches. Heaney is a very intelligent pitcher with an innate feel for sequencing which, when combined with his stuff and command, could allow him to move very quickly through affiliated ball.
Why the Blue Jays could be interested:
If the Blue Jays decide to take the college pitcher route in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft, Andrew Heaney of Oklahoma State could be the guy. The left hander had one of the best seasons by any collegiate product in the United States, which has caused him to rapidly soar up draft sheets. Once considered a fringe first rounder, Heaney is now considered by some as the best college lefty in the draft, and could easily be selected in the top half of the first round. That could make things difficult for the Blue Jays, as when I asked Jonathan Mayo about the left-hander and Toronto, he responded by saying he wasn’t sure Heaney would get that far. Where Heaney eventually gets selected is greatly dependent upon how much more projection a team sees in him, as currently he’s more middle of the rotation than top of the rotation. If a team feels like the 20-year-old could bulk up a bit more and add some velocity, he could be snatched up as high as the early teens. However, if he’s still available at 17, I’m sure Alex Anthopoulos will have a good, long look at the college left-hander.
The draft coverage here at Jays Journal is only just getting started — stay tuned here and on Twitter as Jared (@Jared_Macdonald) and I (@KyleMatte) continue our top 12 draft target series leading up to the first round on the Monday, June 4th.