The Dodgers made an unexpected splash in the free agent market last week with the signing of pitcher Andrew Heaney. What made it perhaps more unexpected is the fact that LA brought in a pitcher who posted an ERA close to 6 (5.83) in 30 games last season. However, there is usually a method to the madness for these Dodgers.
That method being exploring untapped upside in pitchers.
Last week, Andrew Friedman talked about that at the annual general managers meetings.
“We think there’s real upside with Andrew. He’s got a lot of good things in place. We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think there was some real upside that we can tap into, and we’ll see as we get into the season. … He’s got really strong ingredients in place. We think we can get him to a place where he’s one of five on a championship-caliber team, and there’s some real upside.
Heaney has mostly worked on a three pitch mix over his career. Fastball, changeup, curveball. Notably, the spin rate of his fastball is in the upper-echelon of big league pitchers, which is something Dodgers talent evaluators usually focus in on. And the team has had recent successes with, at the time, under-the-radar acquisitions like Alex Vesia and Garrett Cleavinger who are also high spin rate guys.
On Friday, Heaney touched a bit on conversations he had with the front office before signing that pointed to the homework already done on the left-hander.
“I’m excited because I think there’s some really low-hanging fruit, but I also understand some of the things they want me to do I think are going to be a bit more difficult and some stuff that I’m going to have to really buckle down and work hard this offseason to not just do one or two times but to be able to consistently do every single time I take the mound.”
Heaney won’t likely be the marquee move made by the Dodgers this offseason, but if all goes according to plan, he’ll be a massively important piece to the team’s success in 2022.
Andrew Heaney Talks Why He Chose Dodgers & How LA is Helping Him Improve Mechanics
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