Courtesy of Keith Law over at the Worldwide Leader*:
Yankees pitcher Craig Heyer has posted some otherworldly walk rates the last two years in the minors — walking eight batters unintentionally in 72 innings last year, then beating that by walking six in 92 innings this year — and he’s not just doing it with below-average stuff. Heyer throws a heavy fastball at 90-92 from a slot just below three-quarters, generating a lot of ground balls, and he works quickly to try to keep hitters off-balance. His slider was fringy at 83-84 with a tendency to get long and sweepy, which can be a problem for pitchers with lower arm slots, but if he can tighten that up, he’s a valuable relief prospect, but would need a third pitch to use against lefties if he’s going to end up a starter. (Interesting notes on Heyer’s walk rate: He didn’t walk a single batter in 28 relief innings, and his first walk of the year came in his third start of the year, on July 15. And half of his walks for the season came in one game.)
For those that don’t know of Craig Heyer, he’s a righty that spent the 2010 season at High-A Tampa in the Florida State League. He’s old (25) to be a college pitcher still pitching in A-level ball but, as K-Law reports, no matter how old he is, that kind of control and stuff can lead to effective innings as a ground ball-inducing relief pitcher. Thus far in the Arizona Fall League, Heyer’s gone 4 3 1 1 0 1. Hopefully he’s a fast mover next year and shows up on the major league radar for bullpen duty in early 2012.