35-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Aaron Heilman in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Aaron Heilman Contract Information:
Agreed to a minor league contract with the Rangers in April of 2012.
Heilman agreed to a minor league contract with the Rangers on Wednesday, MLB.com reports.
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Aaron Heilman Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Aaron Heilman: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Aaron Heilman.
Heilman was released by both Arizona and Philadelphia last season before signing a minor league deal with Pittsburgh. The right-hander threw 8.2 scoreless frames at Triple-A Indianapolis, closing out a rough year in which he registered a 6.88 ERA for the Diamondbacks prior to his release. He'll compete for a bullpen spot this spring with Seattle, but likely needs some time at Triple-A to prove he belongs back in the majors. Heilman has good strikeout rates (he bounced back to 8.4 K/9IP from 6.9 K/9IP in 2010), but gives up too many homers. He has some bounceback potential since he had a high .360 BABIP last season in the majors, and a move to Seattle could help him keep balls in the park.
Heilman was one of four relievers to pick up a save for the D-Backs last season as the job was a revolving door until Juan Gutierrez held it down for most of the second half. Pitching for his third club in as many seasons, Heilman's strikeout rate tumbled again (8.1 K/9IP to 6.9), but his control is actually improving (4.2 BB/9IP to 3.3). Since becoming a full-time reliever with the Mets in 2006, Heilman has been one of the most durable bullpen arms in baseball having made 373 appearances over the last five years. It wouldn't be surprising to see someone overpay for Heilman's services with a multi-year deal during free agency, but given that he's unlikely to earn more than the occasional save, he's more valuable to major league teams than fantasy owners.
Heilman's strikeout rate is good enough to merit late-inning relief work, but he needs to cut down on the free passes and keep the ball in the park. The latter could be a particular concern in his new home, Chase Field, one of the better hitter's parks in baseball. Expect him to pitch in middle relief or setup duty for the Diamondbacks.
Heilman struggled down the stretch and helped contribute to the Mets' late-season collapse for the second straight year. Overall, his ancillary numbers went in the wrong direction - resulting in over a two-run jump in his ERA and 50 percent rise in WHIP. After the season, Heilman revealed that he has been pitching through tendinitis in his left knee all season, which may have prevented him from driving through the ball, causing his sinker and changeup to stay up in the zone. His desire to start for the Mets or be traded was granted with a deal to the Mariners. Though with the rotation options in Seattle, he might end up back in the pen as a closing option.
Heilman improved his numbers across the board, excelling after a poor first half of the season, to finish with a 3.03 ERA, 1.070 WHIP and .224 BAA. He battled some mild elbow tendinitis and an inability to keep his changeup down in the zone was also a key factor in his early struggles. Heilman credited his second half resurgence to improved fastball command as well as a redefined role, as he once again was the primary right-handed arm out of the bullpen and the heavier workload prevented him from overthrowing and allowed the natural movement of his pitches to take over. If Duaner Sanchez returns, Heilman will probably move back into his seventh-inning role but there is some speculation that the Mets may give him another shot at starting if they strike out in the free-agent or trade market.
Heilman complained all season about having to pitch out of the bullpen rather than as a starter, but it was his valuable relief work that forced the Mets to keep him in that role. His fastball-curveball repertoire makes him perfect for the bullpen as hitters have been able to figure him out once he has gone through the batting order. Heilman started out as the team's seventh-inning pitcher but moved into the set-up role when Duaner Sanchez was injured, forming an excellent bridge to Billy Wagner. Heilman had a rough stretch in the middle of the season when mechanical difficulties prevented him from getting the ball over and keeping it down, but he rebounded to have a dominant second half. His number against lefties weren't as good as in 2005 but he improved his WHIP and BAA against righties, and unless he is traded, Heilman will once again pitch in relief for the Mets.
But for the first week of the season, Heilman spent 2005 in the majors, dominating at times. The 2001 first-rounder out of Notre Dame reverted to the three-quarters arm slot he used in college and it turned around his year, and possibly his career. He dominated both righties and lefties, using his changeup as a great equalizer against port-siders (.208 BAA). He spent the majority of the year in the bullpen, and while he was rumored in nearly every trade conversation the Mets had in the offseason, the likelihood is that he will begin 2006 as one of the main set-up men to Billy Wagner. If the team does trade some of it starting surplus, he could end up back in the rotation as the third or fourth starter.
Heilman bottomed out in his first exposure to the majors in 2003, earning a spot in Triple-A Norfolk's rotation to begin 2004. Things did not get any better as a Tide and he began the year 0-7 before finally turning things around, showing why he was a first-round draft pick in 2001. Heilman won five straight decisions once he started to be consistent with his delivery, and kept the ball down in the strike zone, moving back into the Mets' good graces. He closed 2004 with three solid efforts in his last four outings, but will probably need a change of venue to pitch in the majors since the Mets rotation appears to be filled. If he continues to build on the success he had the last few months in the minors, he projects to be a No. 3 or 4 starter in the majors.
Heilman's first exposure to the big leagues was an unequivocal bust, as the Mets' first-round pick in 2001 showed little of the form that prompted his promotion from Triple-A. Heilman struggled with his control and confidence on the mound, as he tried to be too fine, running his pitch counts high. He will receive more seasoning in Triple-A, as Mets owner Fred Wilpon has already indicated that Heilman will not be in the rotation to begin the 2004 season. Heilman, if he can recover from his initial baptism in the major leagues, still projects to be a quality No. 3 starter in the future.
The Mets' first-round pick in 2001 and their best pitching prospect this side of Scott Kazmir. The Mets advanced him aggressively, placing him in High Single-A ball right after he signed and in Double-A last spring. He'll likely begin the year in Triple-A, although there's a possibility that he'll be used as trade bait.