2002 Scouting Report: Pitcher, Aaron Heilman

Aaron Heilman was the Mets' 1st selection in the 2001 draft out of Notre Dame University. Heilman compiled a 36-4 record in his final 3 seasons at Notre Dame when he was a 3-time All-American. He also pitched for TeamUSA in 2000 as the #2 SP behind Lenny Dinardo. Bob Keppel stayed with Heilman when he visited Notre Dame.

Heilman has not been quite as dominant at Binghamton as anticipated. He hasn't improved his split-fingered fastball or change up as I expected. Nonetheless, he's maintained solid ratios: 7.8 hits per 9 IP; 2.8 BB per 9 IP; and 9.0 K per 9 IP. These ratios indicate that Heilman has pitched much better than the ERA or won-loss record might indicate. He had an outstanding debut at Norfolk. When Heilman struggled at Binghamton it was due in part to relying too heavily on his FB and SL.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2002

Norfolk

1-0

14

7

3

4

0.64

2002

Binghamton

4-4

97

85

28

96

3.82

2001

St. Lucie

0-1

38

26

13

39

2.35


*Stats as of 7/23/02.

Repertoire. 4-seam fastball (FB), slider (SL), split-fingered fastball (spl FB) and circle change (CU).

Fastball. Heilman's fastball sat at 92-93 mph and tops out at 95 mph. He is not expected to add much if any velocity to his fastball. Heilman's fastball has excellent movement that he can make move run or sink.

Other pitches: Heilman possesses an excellent SL. He has a solid spl.FB and is developing his CU. Heilman also has a rarely thrown curve ball.

Pitching: Heilman is extremely durable and understands how to pitch. He has great command. When Heilman is on his game, he constantly has hitters in 0-1 or 0-2 counts. He works both sides of the plate against both left-handed and right-handed hitters.

Projection: Heilman projects eventually develop into a #1 or #2 starter. To evolve into a #1 or #2 SP, Heilman must substantially improve either his spl. FB or circle CU.

ETA: 2003. Heilman should be ready to start on opening day. He should be a solid #3 pitcher very early on.

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers Team
Jae Weong Seo AAA - Norfolk Tides
Patrick Strange AAA - Norfolk Tides
Tyler Walkers AAA - Norfolk Tides
Nick Maness AA - Binghamton Mets
Jeremy Griffiths AA - Binghamton Mets
Joseph Cole AA - Binghamton Mets
Jake Joseph AA - Binghamton Mets
Bob Keppel A - St. Lucie Mets
Josh Reynolds A - St. Lucie Mets
Dave Mattox A - St. Lucie Mets
Tanner Osborne A - Capital City Bombers
Luz Portobanco A - Capital City Bombers
Matthew Peterson A - Capital City Bombers
Miguel Pinango A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Adam Elliot R - Kingsport Mets
Rafael Castro R - Kingsport Mets
Matthew Lindstrom R - Kingsport Mets


COMMENTS:


Starting RHP represents a strength of the organization. The list includes 14 starters indicates the depth the Mets possess. Heilman, Keppel, Maness, Peterson, Portobanco, Reynolds, and Strange all possess the talent to evolve into front end starters. It's too early to determine Mattox's upside.

1. The Mets organization feels that Tyler Walker now is ready to start at the MLB level. After a slow start due to a tender shoulder that cut short his season in the Arizona Fall League. Tyler Walker has great potential as a closer.

2. Jae Weong Seo struggles continues since having surgery in 1999. Apparently the Mets knew about his arm troubles when he signed in December, 1997. The Mets hoped that rest would cure his elbow problems.

3. Patrick Strange improved his SL, and his command of his SL and FB. He should be ready on opening day 2003. It should soon be time for Strange to add his spl. FB back into his repetoire. Perhaps, on his birthday in August.

4. Nick Maness arguable possesses (4-seam FB+, 2-seam FB, CB+, SL, CU+) the best stuff in the system, however, concerns about the command of his 4-seamer, and his ability to control his emotions raises concerns about how soon he might realize his potential.

5. Robert Keppel is on the same fast track that the Mets had for Strange. But, Keppel's more extensive repetoire (4-seam FB, 2-seam FB+, cut SL, spl. FB and CU) than Strange at the seam age means he should not struggle as much as Strange did when promoted to Binghamton. He's also working on a knuckle CB.

6. Josh Reynolds is having a break out season in 2002. Reynolds still has a lot of development of his secondary pitches to undertake. If not, he has the potential to become a great closer.

7. Dave Mattox has come on very quickly. He was promoted to St. Lucie after starting at Columbia. His pitches have excellent movement.

8. Matthew Peterson struggled early in the season, but he has come lately. In his past 4 starts, he has a 4-0 record, pitched 25 innings allowing 3 runs, issuing 5 BB and striking out 38. His ERA was 1.08 over that stretch. He possesses the best upside in the system.

9. Luz Portobanco's repetoire is excellent stuff, but he needs to improve his control especially his CB and CU.

10. Jason Weintraub, Miguel Pinango, and Adam Elliot are excellent SP prospects. Weintraub has tremendous projectability and could be the best long range prospect. Elliot and Pinango also look like very good prospects, Matthew Lindstrom and Rafael Castro may also be worth watching.



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