The day that I was celebrating our first daughter’s 1 year birthday was the day that Ben Heller made his MLB debut with New York Yankees. And just like his Braves debut, he pitched a scoreless inning. However, in his Braves debut, Heller pitched 2 innings, struck out 5 and wowed us all with the movement on his pitches. At that point, I thought, “OMG! AA found another one”. Oh how the eye test can be deceiving.
Heller got the call on June 23rd and stayed in the bigs through July 28th. By that time, the luster of his first outing was gone and the echo of Mike Tyson’s “Fade into Bolivian” speech rang true for Heller.
He would come back up in September and pitch in 3 games and was fairly effective, but not enough for the Braves to save him a roster spot. He’s now officially a free agent.
I mean this with all sincerity, the “Fade into Bolivian” is hyperbolic. Heller throws a baseball better than 99% of the world, and while I’m a pretty good teacher, I can’t say for sure I’m in the 99th percentile. I do think Heller could be an effective reliever if he were able to go back in time before the 3 batter minimum (OPS for RHHs against Heller was .469). Like all players, I hope Heller can catch on somewhere, but he’ll have to figure out some way to get the righties out.