LA Angels Andrew Heaney Facing Pivotal Season

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 03: Andrew Heaney /

The LA Angels traded away long-time second baseman and fan favorite Howie Kendrick in 2014. In return, Andrew Heaney would be making his way to Anaheim. After 24 starts and Tommy John surgery, Heaney will be entering a pivotal year in his career come 2018.

The story of Andrew Heaney’s career with the LA Angels has been a rollercoaster ride. He came to Anaheim with the majority of the fan base already against him. Why in the world would the Halos trade Mr. Consistency in Howie Kendrick for a pitcher with a 5.38 ERA in seven starts? That new general manager Billy Eppler didn’t have the majority vote either.

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Then, Andrew Heaney did nothing in his first Spring Training with the Angels to convince fans otherwise. He allowed 19 runs over six starts, allowing a 7.03 ERA in those 24.1 innings. Four of the 29 hits he gave up went over the fence, and he only struck out 19 batters while walking ten. Andrew Heaney was synonymous to bust for Halo fans.

Heaney started the season in the minors. He made his first start for the Halos on June 24th. The narrative of Andrew Heaney as an Angel changed after that night. Heaney struck out five batters over six innings of work, while allowing only one run and one walk.

The next time out, he went seven innings. He once again allowed only one run and two hits while sending seven batters down on strikes. His ERA sat at 1.38 at the end of June, and would stay below two for the entire month of July.

It wasn’t until his second start of August that his ERA rose north of two. He was solid for the rest of the season, and finished with a 3.49 ERA. Heaney had officially arrived in the majors. Or, so we thought.

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Heaney went into 2016 as the team’s #2 starter behind Garrett Richards. He was no longer a bust waiting to happen, but rather expected to take the next step and become a dynamic duo alongside Richards. However, things went downhill from there.

After one start where he allowed four runs (on two big flies) over seven innings, Heaney looked like his 2015 Spring Training version. However, bigger problems were occurring. Heaney complained of stiffness in his forearm following his first start.

Heaney could not catch a break, and that continued into rehab. Heaney spent a collective three months resting, then testing out stem cell therapy. However, it was three months wasted as the team decided Tommy John was the only route.

At no moment did Heaney waiver. He kept fans involved in his journey back to the mound. After his surgery, he posted a picture to his social media telling fans he’ll be posting daily during his rehab.

413 Instagram posts later, Heaney returned to the mound. For the first time in his Angels career, it did not matter how well he pitched. The only thing that mattered to the Angels and their fans was that he was pitching.

However, his efficiency will matter in 2018. At 26 years of age, Heaney is expected to make the jump soon. It will be a pivotal years as the entire league will find out if he can be a team’s second best option, or if he will have a career as a backend piece to a rotation.

If he can return to the form he showed in 2015, the Halo fans will once again be on the Heaney train. The Halos need him to reach his old level of dominance as well, as their starters struggled throughout 2017 with both performance and injury.

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For Heaney, his best ability will be his availability. However, he will need to do more than be healthy next year for it to be deemed successful. He isn’t the only one that needs himself to be dominant, as the Angels playoff hopes will need him to be there as well.