Today reports surfaced that the Mariners have acquired Chris Heston from the San Francisco Giants in return for the ubiquitous Player to Be Named Later. In 2015, Heston represented another one of the Giants’ gold-strikes, à la Matt Duffy: an unheralded prospect who emerged from seemingly nowhere to put up good numbers, including a no-hitter (with the unfortunate hashtag #HestoPresto). Things came crashing down in 2016, however, when the Giants attempted to move him to the pen with poor results, and he was optioned to AAA, where he struggled to put up numbers mirroring his 2015 performance, and spent most of the year on the DL with an oblique strain.
But there’s a lot to like about Heston, dreadful 2016 aside. He’s a young 28, having only completed one full season in the majors. Although he doesn’t have the fire emoji velocity, he’s a groundball pitcher with a good sinker who throws down in the zone with an ERA that’s pretty close to his FIP, both around 4. His K% in 2015 of 18.6% and BB% of 8.9% are both in line with his career average in the minors, much more than the inflated numbers he put up last year. Heston represents an excellent buy-low candidate for the pile acquired at a theoretically minimal cost. The Giants needed to create space on the roster after backing up the Brinks truck to Mark Melancon’s door, and Heston was a good candidate to be DFA’d. This way, the Giants get a little something back for Heston, and the Mariners get to jump all the other teams on waivers for minimal cost.
And hey, he’s had success before. Maybe lightning can strike twice:
(Also, shout-out to the Mets fans who cheered for Heston as he struck out the side in the ninth, even as he no-hit their own team.)