Left-hander Adam Conley is probably the Washington State Cougars’ most successful current alumnus in MLB. He has tasted some success with the Miami Marlins as a starting pitcher and has been up and down to the majors the last few years. The Marlins brought him up this season and moved him to the bullpen hoping that his power stuff would play up, and Conley has been a revelation this season. He sports a 3-1 record with a 2.63 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched.
His strikeout rate has more than doubled from his starting days and his fastball is now clocking in at around 96 mph. This velocity increase is the greatest in all of baseball this year, and he now has an improved change-up that looks the same coming out of his hand as his fastball and has very impressive movement.
Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs had a detailed look at the lefty and here is what he had to say about his changeup:
I can tell that, when Conley has thrown a changeup this season, opposing batters have whiffed 34% of the time. That changeup whiff rate for Conley is tied for the highest of any pitch type in either league. It’s been one of the very most unhittable pitches. Rather unsurprisingly, Conley has come to trust the pitch more and more.
Sullivan goes on to speculate that Conley will be one of the most coveted reliviers going into the trade deadline with the Marlins out of the playoff race and the fact he has two more years of team control after this season. He also muses that Marlins could move him back to the starting rotation and see if the stuff carries over. Either way the future is looking very bright for Mr. Conley.
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