Major League Baseball's free-agent signing period is underway and the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Andrew Heaney to a one-year, $8.5 million contract to start the offseason.
Heaney made 23 starts in 30 appearances in 2021 as a member of the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees, posting an 8-9 record and 5.83 ERA.
The Dodgers look to turn Heaney's career around after he hasn't lived up to the expectations of a ninth overall pick. This one-year contract is a prove it deal for Heaney after struggling the last few seasons.
Los Angeles Dodgers Sign Andrew Heaney
Heaney looks to fill the bottom of the Dodger rotation but will have to compete for the role. As it stands Buehler, Urias, Tony Gonsolin, and Heaney will fill out four of the rotation spots. The Dodgers can still bring back Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer in free agency. If both return, Heaney will likely work in the bullpen, hurting his fantasy value.
The Dodgers are coming off a 106-win season while scoring the fourth-most runs in Major League Baseball. This will be the best team that Heaney has played for in his eight seasons. To compare his former teams, the Angels were 17th and the Yankees 19th for runs scored in 2021. The extra run support could lead to more wins for the left-hander who has only had two seasons with a record above .500.
Home Run Struggles
Heaney struggled with the long ball in 2021. He allowed 2.01 home runs per nine innings, the third most among pitchers with at least 125 innings pitched. Playing for the Yankees hurt Heaney in 2021. Before the Angels traded him away Heaney was allowing only 1.53 home runs per nine innings. After the Yankees acquired him Heaney allowed 3.28 home runs per nine innings.
The Yankees should have seen that Heaney allows lots of hard contact and plenty of flyballs. These do not mix well with Yankee Stadium and everyone saw his numbers get worse.
This, however, does not point to Heaney having a better season with the Dodgers in 2022. Baseball Savant lists his expected home runs as being higher in Dodger Stadium than Yankee Stadium. This could be trouble for a player who already struggles to keep the ball in the park.
Value In Strikeouts and Innings
Heaney's 2021 wasn't bad all around, he had an above-average strikeout rate, backed by an excellent chase rate (32.5%) and whiff percentage (28.2%). He finished 48th in strikeouts in 2021 keeping Heaney relevant in Fantasy Baseball.
Heaney's current high mark is 180 innings pitched in 2018. He made 30 starts and finished with a 9-10 record and 4.15 ERA. In 2021 Heaney pitched in 30 games but only totaled 129.2 innings after moving to the Yankees bullpen. In 2022 expect Heaney to get close to 180 innings again as long as he can stay in the rotation for the full season.
2022 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
The biggest indicator of Heaney's 2022 season will be whether he plays in the rotation or bullpen. Going into the Fantasy Baseball draft season, expect Heaney's ADP to be around 200 but will fall if the Dodgers bring Kershaw and Scherzer back. Right now he is set as a starter keeping him on the 2022 Fantasy Baseball draft radar.
In Fantasy Baseball Heaney should get enough value from strikeouts and innings to be rostered in 12-team leagues, but can hurt a team badly if he keeps allowing too many home runs. He is a late-round risky pick who could be a top-100 pitcher in 2022 or just a bullpen arm.
Be sure to check out all the 2022 Fantasy Baseball content as the season gets closer.