Andrew Heaney shocked Dodgers fans in debut vs Twins

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 12: Andrew Heaney #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of the game at Target Field on April 12, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 12: Andrew Heaney #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of the game at Target Field on April 12, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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And you thought for a second that Andrew Friedman would let Los Angeles Dodgers fans down? Think again!

When LA’s first offseason move was quickly signing starting pitcher Andrew Heaney to a one-year, $8.5 million contract, everyone was confused. The veteran left-hander was coming off a career-worst season that ended with Yankees fans chasing him out of the Bronx with torches and pitchforks.

Did the Dodgers really need to pay that much money? Couldn’t they have waited for better options after the lockout? He had a 5.83 ERA and allowed two home runs per nine innings last year! How was this a priority?!

And all we heard, especially over the last few years, is that Heaney “needed to be unlocked.” Then you wonder what that exactly meant. Heaney’s been in MLB since 2014 and has pitched in 121 career games. He has a 4.72 ERA and has made 23 or more starts in a single season just twice. But … BUT! His fastball spin rate ranked in the 90th percentile of the league and his curveball spin was in the 67th percentile. The Dodgers can figure out a way to utilize that, right? Apparently!

Andrew Heaney’s Dodgers’ debut vs the Twins was a success

That troubling start to spring training now looks like a whole lot of unnecessary worry among the fan base. And the one run that came across the plate was a result of a bizarre error by Trea Turner that negated a likely inning-ending double play. That’s when Heaney was removed from the game, but not before 4.1 innings, three hits, zero walks, and a 37 CSW%!

Wondering what CSW is? It’s Called Strikes + Whiffs divided by Total Pitches. Another fancy metric we can use to quantify a pitcher’s worth in the event ERA, FIP or WHIP may not tell the entire story.

And it’s not like Heaney faced a lineup of slouches. He saw Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco, Gio Urshela, Gary Sánchez, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano.

His command was key. He was able to locate all three of his pitches effectively, which makes all the difference in the world when you don’t exactly possess overpowering stuff (92 MPH is the average velocity on his fastball).

There’s still a long road ahead for Heaney, but his first outing of the season, which was on the road, offered as much encouragement as humanly possible based on his recent lack of success and what many believed to be a fairytale in regard to the lefty being “figured out” in his age-31 season after parts of eight seasons in the bigs.