Marlins Top Prospect Nears Big League Promotion
With all of the uncertainty surrounding the Marlins starting rotation after Jose Fernandez’s season-ending Tommy John surgery, the organization might be close to promoting its top prospect Andrew Heaney.
With Nate Eovaldi’s wife expecting to deliver a baby any day now, the Marlins will need to fill in for him when the time comes.
Not to mention the fact that Jacob Turner is struggling to start the season and it has yet to be announced who will start Friday’s or Saturday’s games against the Pirates at Marlins Park.
Eovaldi is currently scheduled to start Friday but the Marlins know they cannot count on him to start given his current situation, and though Randy Wolf should be in line to start Saturday he might be pushed forward to start Friday.
The Marlins originally sent Heaney to Triple-A New Orleans to determine if he could get experienced hitters out, and he has proven he can do so with consistency.
With Triple-A New Orleans he has thrown 23 innings spanning four starts and is 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 27 strikeouts against only two walks.
Of course, Heaney started the year with the Marlins‘ Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville, going 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 52 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings.
He had nothing left to prove at the Double-A level, and he might not have anything left to prove at the Triple-A level either.
Once he gets the call, don’t expect this to be a spot start type of situation either. He shouldn’t go back down to the minors unless he struggles significantly and unpredictably.
Heaney currently projects as the No. 2 starter of the future behind Fernandez in the Marlins‘ rotation, and the team really has no reason to hold him back any longer.
The Super Two deadline has passed and the team is currently just 0.5 games back of first place in the NL East. The Marlins rotation also ranks 8th in starter’s ERA in the NL (13th in MLB) and is the one spot the team could use an upgrade at.
The only downside to Heaney being called up is that he might not be available if the team were to make it to the playoffs. His career high in innings is 95 1/3, so the Marlins could ultimately cap his innings.
However, we’ve seen the Nationals make the wrong decision in this sort of situation in the past with their decision to shut down Strasburg at the end of their 2012 season. It is quite possible this cost them a shot at the World Series that year and the Marlins don’t want to regret making a similar decision if they’re still in contention come September.
Either way, Marlins fans should be prepared to see the organization’s top prospect in the very near future even if it doesn’t happen this weekend.