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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Aaron Heilman

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: ?, Age: 23, Height: 6’5’’, Weight: 225, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Mets - Drafted in the 1st Round of the 2001 Draft (Notre Dame University). 2000 Stats: College 2001 Stats: (High-A - St. Lucie) 0-1, 2.35 ERA, 38 IP, 26 H, 0 HR, 13 BB, 39 K.

Aaron Heilman was the 18th pick in the 2001 amateur draft, and the Mets selected him primarily because they felt that he was the closest pitching prospect to the majors in the draft pool. Heilman is nearly a finished product already: what you see is what you will likely get at the big-league level. He throws a heavy, moving, low-90’s fastball, a sharp breaking slider, and a splitter that is his only semi-reliable off-speed pitch (82-85 mph) at this point. Heilman isn’t afraid to pitch inside (his favorite quote is attributed to Bob Gibson) and doesn’t give up the long ball, two traits that will serve him well on his way up the ladder. He is an imposing presence on the mound at 6’5’’/225, and seems to be a rather durable pitcher. Heilman’s late signing (August) prevented him from making more than seven starts in the FSL, but he was impressive in his limited action. He averaged 5.4 IP/start, a rather high number in A-ball, and allowed barely more than one baserunner an inning. His control was less than perfect, but when you strike out as many as you let on, you’re going to be successful more often than not. Heilman would be wise to work on his change in the offseason (he does throw a circle change on occasion, but it is very unreliable), because without it lefties will likely become a problem for him at the higher levels. Other than that, he just needs reps before he’s big-league ready.
With Estes, Chen, and Leiter in the fold, the Mets could really use someone of Heilman’s talents. Chen and Estes aren’t exactly innings-eaters either, so getting a "workhorse" like Heilman up as soon as possible might ease the load on the bullpen a bit. I imagine Heilman will begin 2002 at Binghamton (AA), with expectations of moving up to AAA sometime during the season. He may be called up in September, but more likely will be given a shot to make the club in spring training ’03. In my opinion, Heilman doesn’t have the quality of pitches to become much more than a number 3 starter, but he should be a quality #3 or #4 for a good ballclub, able to eat up 200+ innings a season with better than league average success. He likely will struggle against lefties for much of his career, but should be tough on right-handers. A comparison to Dave Burba comes to mind, perhaps after the early-career struggles.


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