The Angels have announced that lefty Andrew Heaney will undergo Tommy John surgery. He is expected to miss the rest of this season and all of next — though GM Billy Eppler says the team won’t pre-determine whether a late-2017 return is possible, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).
Los Angeles had been holding out hope that Heaney’s ulnar collateral ligament would respond to growth hormone treatment, but the team says that has not been the case. Per the statement, Heaney also continued to experience discomfort while attempting to throw, leading to the decision to go through with the procedure.
Heaney is a critically important piece of the picture for the Halos both now and into the future. He was acquired for Howie Kendrick in a deal that the organization hoped would provide a strong rotation piece for years to come. Now, the team is left crossing its fingers that the same fate does not await Garrett Richards, who is also undergoing a similar treatment in an effort to stave off a UCL replacement.
The results had been promising. Heaney, 25, completed 105 2/3 innings of 3.49 ERA pitching last year, with 6.6 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9. The results may have been a bit fortunate — he carried a 3.73 FIP, 4.41 xFIP, and 4.31 SIERA on the year — but all told he seemed to be making good on his pedigree as the former 9th overall pick and a top-100 prospect.
With just 150 days of service coming into the season, Heaney won’t cost Los Angeles more than the minimum for some time. He’ll accrue service time while he’s out, of course, which will set him up for Super Two status heading into 2018. But given the minimal innings he has thrown, he won’t command much of a salary.
Needless to say, this is a disappointing development for Heaney, though it had been expected for some time. It’s also disheartening for the Fantex player investment model, which had made the young lefty its first affiliated player.