RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: November 12, 1978
Height: 6′ 5″
Drafted: 1st Round, 18th Overall, 2001
How Acquired: Signed as a free agent
College: University of Notre Dame
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Heilman is a former top Mets’ pitching prospect who had a good run as a reliever for them in 2005-07. He’s mostly struggled since then, all the time maintaining that he wants to return to starting. He throws a fastball that’s generally averaged around 92, but his out pitch is a changeup. He’s also thrown a slider in most seasons. He’s been a workhorse throughout much of his career, reaching 70 or more appearances for five straight seasons. You have to wonder whether the workload finally took his toll, as his velocity dropped in 2011 to an average of 90.6 after averaging between 92.3 and 93.3 every year after he moved to the bullpen. He was a groundball pitcher until the last few years, when his groundball/flyball tendencies have been more or less even. He’s increasingly had trouble with gopher balls. He hasn’t had much of a platoon split over his career, except that he’s more apt to walk LH batters.
Started off at high A and pitched well in seven starts, fanning a batter an inning.
Heilman started in AA and moved up to AAA about two-thirds of the way through the season. He pitched very well at both levels, but in AAA his K rate dropped by a third.
Had a solid but not outstanding first half in AAA in 2003, with a good ERA but not-so-good WHIP and K rate. The Mets brought him up in late June and put him in their rotation. He struggled badly in 13 starts and one relief appearance.
Heilman went back to AAA until late in the season and didn’t pitch especially well. He started five games for the Mets late in the season and mostly struggled.
Opened the season in the Mets’ rotation, but moved to bullpen after seven starts. He pitched very well there, with a 2.18 ERA, compared to 4.71 starting. He had a 9.8 K/9 and 1.11 WHIP as a reliever.
Continued pitching well, and often, out of the bullpen.
Heilman had a very good season, pitching in 81 games, although his K rate dropped for the second straight year.
Appeared in another 78 games and had a bad year, with walks and HRs (ten) especially being a problem, although his K rate increased sharply. He was traded during the off-season to Seattle, which a month later sent him on to the Cubs for Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson, both members of the Pirates’ organization at the time Heilman joined them.
Appeared in another 70 games and had a mediocre season with the Cubs. He improved over the previous season mainly by walking fewer, although his walk rate was still high.
Had a roughly similar season after being traded to Arizona, with better control but also a lower K rate (6.9). Appeared in another 70 games and served as the closer for a while.
Signed a free agent deal to return to the Diamondbacks, but struggled throughout his time with them. He got hit much harder (.318 opponents’ BA) and allowed a HR every 4.5 innings, although his walk and K rates were ironically very good. The D’backs released him in July and he signed a minor league deal with the Phillies. He struggled badly with their AAA affiliate and was released after a month. With Indianapolis, he allowed no runs in seven games.
The Pirates signed Heilman because they faced some uncertain health situations and probably anticipated needing some innings at Indianapolis. It couldn’t hurt, either, for them to get a look at him in case they have a chance to sign him to a minor league deal for 2012. That’s probably what he’s going to have to settle for.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2001
MLB Debut: 6/26/2003
MiLB FA Eligible: Eligible
MLB FA Eligible: 2012
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 2003
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2004)
MLB Service Time: 5.123
|June 3, 1997: Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 55th round, 1488th overall.
June 5, 2000: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round, 31st overall.
June 5, 2001: Drafted by the New York Mets in the 1st round, 18th overall; signed on July 17.
June 26, 2003: Contract purchased by the New York Mets.
December 11, 2008: Traded by the New York Mets to the Seattle Mariners as part of a three-team deal in which Franklin Gutierrez, Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto, and Jason Vargas went to Seattle, Sean Green, J.J. Putz and Jeremy Reed went to the Mets, and Luis Valbuena and Joe Smith went to the Cleveland Indians.
January 28, 2009: Traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Chicago Cubs for Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson.
November 19, 2009: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Ryne White and Scott Maine.
November 1, 2010: Became a free agent.
January 18, 2011: Signed as a free agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
July 19, 2011: Released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
July 21, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies.
August 20, 2011: Released by the Philadelphia Phillies.
August 21, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.