Pitcher List on Rotographs: This Is Andrew Heaney’s Rebound
(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)
I’m writing about starting pitching for Rotographs and didn’t want the Pitcher List community to miss out on one of our signature GIF Breakdowns.
I like Andrew Heaney. I think you should too but let’s start with me.
I like Heaney’s control. Save for his five-game 2017 season, Heaney’s 7.3% walk rate this year is the highest of any MLB season, fueled by a sinker hitting the zone over 58% of the time and a changeup he trusts for a 47% zone rate.
I’m getting ahead of myself. I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t feel there was a question about Heaney’s ability to perform, which wasn’t the case early in the year. Through the first eight starts of the year, there was a strong consensus that Heaney could excel for a considerable amount of time, sporting a 3.09 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 27% K rate, and a fantastic 12% whiff rate to support the elevated strikeout numbers.
However, Heaney ran into a pair of 5 ER games and suddenly it seemed doomed. It launched a stretch of 5.09 ERA with just a 16.7% K rate and the fun was coming to an end. Sure, the WHIP was still acceptable and walk rate was under 5%, but we were celebrating Heaney for the good ratios and strikeouts and it just wasn’t happening.
I started this article talking about Heaney’s control. It’s easily one of his best attributes and entering the year, we considered it as one of the only strong assets. For the most part, save for the “all around” types that are so hard to depend on, either we classify a starter’s value in good command/control arms or high strikeout ability. Heaney has always had the control, but what I’m believing in suddenly is the strikeout rate.