Washington State left-hander Adam Conley has been picked up on the second day of the 2011 MLB Draft. With the 72nd pick, the Florida Marlins selected Conley.
Conley becomes the highest Cougar drafted since Scott Hatteberg went in the compensation round back in 1991. Aaron Sele was also selected in the first round that year.
Conley was sought after because he possesses what may be the most sought-after commodity in baseball: A left arm that can hit the nineties on a radar gun (as evidenced by the Seattle Mariners surprise pick of Danny Hultzen). It doesn't hurt that Conley has excellent control, walking just 27 men in 108 innings pitched.
His 3.50 ERA may not be very shiny, especially in a year where runs seemed harder than ever to come by in college baseball, but it is worth noting that Conley pitched in front of a below-average defense (as evidenced by an inflated .342 BABIP) and against an above-average conference. On collegesplits.com, they have done some park and schedule adjusting to their statistics and those of you who are here searching for any information you can (i.e. Marlins fans), will be happy to know they paint a much rosier picture.
Conley's park and schedule adjusted ERA drops to 2.83 and his FIP comes down from 4.00 to 3.90. His batting average against comes down from .277 to .228. Basically, he put up some solid numbers against some of the best competition there is in college baseball. So that is something positive to take away.
What it really comes down to for the Marlins is what Conley has to offer now for them to build upon in the future. He's got that aforementioned low-90s fastball and solid control. He was also a workhorse during his junior year at Washington State, throwing 108 innings in 16 starts and frequently getting into the eighth inning or later. He has yet to develop a solid breaking ball as an "out" pitch, and if he does he has the potential to continue to strike out batters with the frequency he did in college (6.92 K/9).
For those of you East Coasters who may scoff at the selection because you don't trust the program he is coming from, you should know that Washington State has had a former player in the Major League's for 63 straight years, the third-longest streak in the country.