Coming from a long injury stint due to Tommy John surgery, it seems that Ben Heller will finally make a significant dent for the New York Yankees during the 2020 season. The 28-year-old has pitched fewer than 30 innings for the New York Yankees since the Andrew Miller trade that sent him to the Bronx.
Only appearing in 25 major league games, Heller has allowed seven earned runs in 25.1 total innings pitched. In that time he’s fanned 24 batters but has allowed 22 hits. In the Minor Leagues, Heller posted a 2.64 ERA through his six seasons and recorded 330 strikeouts in 248.2 innings pitched.
Since we haven’t seen much of Heller in pinstripes or even pitching in the Major Leagues, it’s hard to tell what he can bring to the table. He relies on his four-seam fastball that sits around 93mph and flashes a slider while mixing in a changeup both around 84mph. His fastball has decreased since his injury where it was originally around 95-96mph.
Heller’s go-to pitch seems to be his slider. Throwing it 43 times during the season, he recorded an impressive 55.6% swing-and-miss percentage. With a trend of flame-throwers coming out of the Yankee bullpen, having a guy that can get swing and misses on something besides a fastball is refreshing.
It seems that Heller will definitely be an option out of the bullpen. I can’t see him being used in high-leverage situations but I can see him filling roles almost like Luis Cessa. The addition of Heller definitely adds some quality talent to give the bullpen even more depth.