Prospect Watch: Jon Heasley

Throws: R Bats: R

Height: 6’ 3” Weight: 215

Age: 22

Draft: 13th Round, KC, 2018, Oklahoma State

Game: Augusta Greenjackets vs. Lexington Legends, 6/11/19

Final Line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

After several good outings from Heasley, I was finally able to watch him pitch.  The 13throunder out of Oklahoma State in 2018 relied on his fastball for most of this game, sitting mostly in the low 90s range, and occasionally touching 95.  His curve, which had a nice sharp 11-5 glove-side break to it, and changeup were a distant second and third in usage, and he was able to get two of his nine strikeouts using the curve.  The first two times through the order, he largely cruised, scattering only three hits, fanning six and walking one.  However, signs of trouble were brewing in the 5th inning, as he gave up a single, a walk, and a HBP, with a sac fly by Ismael Munguia plating the first run.  The Greenjackets got to Heasley in the 6th, touching him for 2 singles, a double, and 2 more runs.  He ended the inning striking out Shane Matheny (no known relation to the longtime Cardinals catcher and manager), but his night was over.

One of the concerns that RFR’s Drew Osborne mentioned in his post about Heasley last month was his issue with getting into hitters’ counts, something that I saw play itself out in this outing as well.  Of the 27 batters he faced, he got into hitters counts with 9 of them, a whopping 33% of the time.  The interesting wrinkle to that stat was how often he got behind the bottom third of the order (3), leading to a .400 clip (2-for 5 collectively) with a HBP.  That’s the part of the order you expect a pitcher to cruise through.  His outing overall was decent, but the concern remains the same: against better hitters at the higher levels, this will come back to bite him if it’s not addressed.

Heasley has come a long way since his first start of the season, and since his 10 K outing on May 19, his pitch counts have broken 90 in every outing.  Unsurprisingly, the effect on his statistics bear this out:

Make no mistake about it, the guy misses bats.  However, the longer he’s gone, and this may be a byproduct of his heavy reliance on his fastball, some of his key stats (WHIP, ERA, BB/9) really start to suffer.  And while overall, he’s pitched well enough for a call-up to Wilmington, there’s some concern that what Drew spoke of is spot on.  As of right now, with his low 90’s fastball that occasionally touches mid-90’s, he projects as a short or mop-up reliever in the majors.

Since he’s only been starting since May, and it’s clear the Royals are working him towards starting at the ML level, it’s probably too early to accurately assess what role he’ll find himself in the Show.  He’s expected to encounter some bumps in the road, but one thing he does have going for him (besides the awesome mustache, which complements the Legends’ logo well) is his ability to work out of jams.  That moxie will serve him well as he makes his way through the minors, learning from his mistakes, pitching more efficiently by getting more pitchers’ counts, and building up a repertoire that will challenge hitters at the ML level.

That’s all for this month.  I hope to keep this going on a monthly basis during the season, with perhaps some other features interspersed here and there.  Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed.

All images: Phil Jefferis/Perfect Light Photography.  Copyright 2019.  All rights reserved.

 

2 thoughts on “Prospect Watch: Jon Heasley

  1. Pingback: Minor League Minutes: 6/18/19 | Royals Farm Report

  2. Pingback: High Noon Highlights (6/18): Matthew Wolff could have a major impact on the PGA tour - Big 12 Blog Network

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