Pipeline preview: Bryant, Heaney on collision course
Heaney earned a promotion to New Orleans about six weeks into the season and made his Major League debut a month later. Bryant, meanwhile, stayed with Double-A Tennessee until the Southern League All-Star break in mid-June before moving up to Triple-A Iowa.
With Heaney back in the Minor Leagues after a brief stint with the Marlins, the marquee matchup between the two will finally occur. Heaney is slated to start Tuesday against Bryant and Iowa. Fans can watch the game on MiLB.TV at 8:05 p.m. ET.
Heaney, ranked No. 24 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, has scuffled in his last few starts. He hasn't gotten out of the fifth inning in three straight starts, including his last game with the Marlins, and he hasn't won since June 6, his last start before his callup.
But overall this season, Heaney has been one of the best starters in the Minor Leagues. Between Jacksonville and New Orleans, he is 7-3 with a 3.02 ERA, and he has struck out 87 batters and walked 18 in 83 1/3 innings.
Bryant, ranked No. 8 on the Top 100, leads all Minor Leaguers with 33 home runs this season. He has hit 11 in 29 games since joining Iowa. Overall this season, he is hitting .345/.439/.700 with 81 runs and 84 RBIs in 97 games.
When Bryant was promoted to Iowa, he joined the Cubs' No. 1 prospect Javier Baez, who got off to a slow start this season, but carries a 15-game hitting streak into Tuesday's matchup. Baez also has recently begun the process of learning second base after playing exclusively at shortstop since he was drafted in 2011. But with Starlin Castro entrenched at the position in Chicago and newly acquired shortstop Addison Russell at Double-A Tennessee, the Cubs are starting to increase Baez's versatility to avoid a logjam.
In addition to Heaney, several other pitchers ranked on the Top 100 are scheduled to start Tuesday, including Noah Syndergaard (No. 10), Jon Gray (No. 12), Dylan Bundy (No. 16), Tyler Glasnow (No. 22), Eduardo Rodriguez (No. 53), Matt Wisler (No. 59), Matt Barnes (No. 66), Sean Manaea (No. 94) and Marco Gonzales (No. 100). Fans can watch Syndergaard, Gray, Bundy, Wisler, Barnes and Gonzales on MiLB.TV, beginning with Barnes and Triple-A Pawtucket visiting Syracuse at 7 p.m.
Bundy will continue his recovery from Tommy John surgery with his seventh start of the season. The Orioles' No. 1 prospect will lead Frederick against Rangers' No. 1 prospect Jorge Alfaro and Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach at 7:05 p.m.
Top prospect probables
Manny Banuelos (Yankees' No. 11), Trenton at New Hampshire
Barnes (Red Sox's No. 6), Pawtucket at Syracuse
Corey Black (Cubs' No. 17), Tennessee vs. Mississippi
Michael Blazek (Brewers' No. 18), Nashville vs. Colorado Springs
Bundy (Orioles' No. 1), Frederick at Myrtle Beach
Daniel Corcino (Reds' No. 10), Pensacola vs. Mobile
Zach Eflin (Padres' No. 13), Lake Elsinore at San Jose
Glasnow (Pirates' No. 3), Bradenton vs. Dunedin
Marco Gonzales (Cardinals' No. 4), Memphis vs. Omaha
Mitch Gueller (Phillies' No. 17), Williamsport vs. Batavia
Gray (Rockies' No. 1), Tulsa at Springfield
Heaney (Marlins' No. 1), New Orleans at Iowa
Manaea (Royals' No. 4), Wilmington at Carolina
Aaron Northcraft (Braves' No. 13), Gwinnett vs. Scranton/Wilkes Barre
Adalberto Mejia (Giants' No. 3), Richmond at Akron
Adam Plutko (Indians' No. 20), Carolina vs. Wilmington
Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles' No. 2), Bowie vs. Harrisburg
Kyle Smith (Astros' No. 17), Corpus Christi at San Antonio
Syndergaard (Mets' No. 1), Las Vegas at Tacoma
Blake Taylor (Mets' No. 17), Kingsport vs. Greeneville
Trevor Williams (Marlins' No. 9), Jupiter at Lakeland
Wisler (Padres' No. 3), El Paso vs. Sacramento