First-round righthander Jose Fernandez rightfully attracted most of the headlines, but lefty Adam Conley joined him in Jupiter's rotation after an impressive half-season at low Class A Greensboro. Miami drafted Conley in the second round out of Washington State, so he is three years older than Fernandez.
Conley went 7-3, 2.78 in 14 starts for the Grasshoppers, walking 24 and striking out 84 with a 1.10 WHIP in 74 innings.
"When I first envisioned playing professional baseball it was nothing at all how it is, mostly because now I'm married," Conley said. "My wife comes everywhere with me. She's always cooking me food and doing everything she can to help me out."
Consuming less fast food than the typical low-level minor leaguer no doubt helps, but Conley also can point to mechanical adjustments. The Marlins set out to clean up his delivery in order to give him greater consistency with his secondary pitches.
"I was really rotational," Conley said. "The problem with that, even though I was developing a lot of torque and could generate a lot of velocity and power that way, I was losing consistency. Rather than just having to be on time up and down with my release, I had to be on time left and right as well."
Conley's four-seam fastball sits 92-95 mph and touches 97. He'll also take something off to give it sink. He didn't think his slider had enough action at 83-84 mph, but now he throws it 85-87 with the same depth and tilt.
Conley began holding the changeup with a unique ring finger/pinky grip as a college junior. "It's a tremendous feel pitch," he said. "You have to throw it a lot to get a good feel for it, and right now I feel like it's coming out of my hand pretty good."
After Conley's FSL debut, Hammerheads manager Andy Haines said, "The pitchability is impressive. He's not out there just trying to blow guys away. He's pitching, and with two strikes he can hump up. The changeup and slider are good pitches that are usable."
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