Marlins Cowboy Up With Heaney





The pick might have stung Marlins vice president of scouting Stan Meek just a tad. He is an Oklahoma Sooner after all, but Meek came to grips with the fact Oklahoma State lefthander Andrew Heaney was the organization's best bet at No. 9 in the draft.

"It's a little tough for a Sooner to pick a Cowboy," Meek said. "We're going to have to make a pact here that we're on the same side."

Meek, who still resides in Norman, Okla., has known Heaney since he was a freshman at Putnam City High in Oklahoma City. The Marlins might have considered selecting him three years ago, but Heaney made it known he was intent on being a Cowboy and the Marlins weren't prepared to dissuade him with a big bonus offer. The Rays picked him in the 24th round.

Heaney had an idea the other Florida team might take him this time around. Meek being from Oklahoma, plus the Marlins' penchant for tapping that talent pool (Josh Johnson, Chad James, J.T. Realmuto, Mason Hope, etc.) was not lost on him.

"I had an idea and a hope, but nothing solid," said Heaney, adding he doesn't regret going to school. "I felt like at that time I had room to improve both physically and mentally. I felt like three years in college would really help me mature and help me get to where I am. It was an experience I didn't want to miss."

It proved beneficial. Heaney since his high school days added considerable zip to his fastball, which now sits in the 90-92 mph range and touches 95. He also switched from a curve to a slider, a plus pitch for him.

The changeup is developing, but Meek hopes a minor mechanical adjustment will help.

"I would say (the delivery) is pretty solid," Meek said. "The one thing you'd like him to do a little bit more, he's a little straight up with his finish. That's why I think the changeup is a little behind because when you finish a little bit straight up you don't have quite that same deception with your body coming down through the ball."

The 6-foot-2, 174-pound Heaney as a junior this season went 8-2, 1.60 with six complete games and three shutouts. He walked 22 and struck out 140 in 118 innings, earning Big 12 Conference pitcher of the year honors.

Heaney, who turns 21 on Tuesday, is semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy.

"All the intangible things we think are in place and he has stuff," Meek said. "He has pitches, now pitches."

FISH BITES

• High Class A Jupiter outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, and catcher J.T. Realmuto will represent the Hammerheads at the Florida State League all-star game.

•  Low Class A Greensboro righthander Jose Fernandez earned South Atlantic League pitcher of the week honors (May 21-27). He went 1-0, tossed seven shutout innings and struck out 15 to improve to 6-0, 1.50 on this season with 78 strikeouts and 15 walks in 60 innings.