Top 50 Scouting Report: #48 Michael Devaney

Top 50 Scouting Report: #48 Michael Devaney

This season, Michael Devaney looked to continue the success he experienced during his first three years in the organization. Originally drafted in the 23rd round of the 2004 draft, he still has not slowed his desire in finding new ways to stay one step ahead of hitters. Here is a scouting report on the Binghamton starter.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Michael Devaney
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: July 31, 1982
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Michael Devaney entered the year coming off a distinguished 2006 season in which he earned Sterling Pitcher of the Year honors for his 12-5, 2.13 ERA effort in St. Lucie and Binghamton. He had a respectable first April with the B-Mets in which he posted a 3.86 ERA with a .235 opponent's batting average in 14 innings pitched [three starts], but in succeeding months, he ran into tough times that would afflict him for much of the summer.

Devaney is a pitcher whose success is determined by his ability to mix his pitches and hit his spots, and when he is off, he is susceptible to opposing bats. With a fastball that averages speeds in the high-80s, he will not blow pitches by anyone and relies on the natural cut of his four-seam fastball, and the sink on his two-seamer, to set up his secondary pitches.

However, pain grew in his elbow as the season went on which caused him to instinctively shorten his normally long delivery. The quicker motion affected his pitches, making them flatten out. The end result was the toughest season of Devaney's career.

"My natural arm motion is very long. It's a slower, deceptive type of delivery and I know with my elbow flare up, I was trying to change it and make it shorter to protect myself. But that got me away from what I normally do. It was almost like a new delivery for me this year to make my arm feel better. It probably wasn't a smart idea." he said.

He struggled with his fastballs and thus the rest of his repertoire suffered. In his 15 starts after May 1, Devaney went 4-7 with a 5.37 ERA [73.2 IP] with 33 walks. He showed flashes of what he had in previous years, but he knew he just was not right.

" I think I took a step backwards with my mechanics because I was trying to pitch through the pain and I altered the way I threw the ball," he said. "It is hard once you change little things to make yourself feel better physically and it's hard to get back the mechanics you had working for you previously."

When Devaney is at his best, he changes speeds and uses his curveball and changeup to give the appearance of more velocity. But this season, he had to force more curveballs so hitters would not sit on his fastball. It was a strategy that proved counterproductive because of the pain in his elbow.

"I felt that my curveball had to be on this season because of what I was lacking in my fastball. I overthrew my curveball and expected too much from it. It's my best pitch because when I use it off my fastball and without that fastball the curveball wasn't really there. With my fastball coming back, my curveball should get back to being the strikeout pitch that it has been my first three years," he explained.

His start on July 21, in which he gave up five earned runs in four innings, was his last before a month-long stint on the disabled list. The pain became too much and rather than risk further injury, he was shutdown. He made three more starts and a relief appearance upon his return, allowing six earned runs and 16.1 innings pitched. Most importantly, Devaney felt like his old self again.

"When I went on the DL, my main focus was to not throw until I didn't have to alter anything. I took more time off than I originally thought, so when I finally came back in the season, I felt a lot better and more of what I can do and how I'm suppose to throw," he said.

This winter, Devaney will work extensively on his lower half to build more leg strength so that he can pitch more with his body and less with his arm. Through that work, he hopes to attain a touch more velocity and more break on his curveball. Never before had Devaney dealt with such injury or adversity, and he acknowledges this winter will be imperative to elevate his game to become more than a respected system pitcher.

"This is the first winter where I'll be real focused on my lower body. I haven't had to deal with injuries really ever until this year, so I need to make sure I come in healthy and have a chance to succeed. I'm not gifted enough to throw when I'm not 100 percent. If I can't get to 100 percent, I'm probably wasting my time," he said.

2007 was a gut check for Devaney. Yet his mentality is perseveringly strong and Devaney will not let an injury plagued, erratic season slow him down. Coaches and scouts know he offers, now it will be a matter of coming back healthy and improving upon his existing skills.

"Basically, I'm going to try to flush away last year and start fresh again," he said. "I think if I come into spring training with a stronger lower body and show everybody a fastball that I'm comfortable throwing; I'm going to get my shot at New Orleans or wherever. I think I need to come in and show something different than last year and force them to move me—that's the goal."

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2007

Binghamton

6-9

104.0

105

43

71

4.85

2006

Binghamton

4-2

53.0

39

35

43

3.06

2006

St. Lucie

8-3

94.2

63

35

86

1.62

2005

Hagerstown

10-4

137.0

107

51

121

3.88

2004

Brooklyn

5-0

69.1

58

29

56

1.95



Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup

Fastball: Devaney throws both a four-seam fastball and a two-seam fastball. The four-seamer tops out at 89-90 on average, but he can pump it up to 91-92 on occasion. The natural cutting action helps him compensate for his lack of velocity as he likes to work the corners. His two-seam fastball has good sinking action but it is still an inconsistent pitch for him, leading him to throw his sinker only about 10 to 15 percent of the time. The shaky command of his fastball remains his most pressing issue.

Other Pitches: When he is not using his fastball, Devaney relies most on his low-to-mid 70's curveball with more 12-6 break. His strongest command is with the breaking ball and it is most effective when his fastball is going well. When he builds more strength in his lower half, it should sharpen the curveball and make it a stronger finishing pitch. He tops off his repertoire with a changeup. He was more comfortable with it this year than in previous years, but it is still a work in progress. It is serviceable, but he needs to get it to a point where he can use it in any situation.

Pitching: Devaney's steadiness is his best attribute. He knows he is not going to blow anyone away, so he must his secondary pitches effectively and spot his fastball correctly. When he is hitting the catcher's targets, he can be tough to hit. His cool mentality and hungry approach keeps him always wanting more; all are traits that keep him in favor of coaches and those within the organization.

Projection: The right-hander's career was on a constant climb before injuries and ineffectiveness pushed him back this season. His command issues keep his rise at a slower pace than past numbers would dictate, but he still has the opportunities to go out and prove himself. Devaney's game will not turn heads, but he believes in his ability to go after hitters without fear despite lesser velocity. He will need to show consistent improvement in his repertoire if he is going to get a shot as a big league starter who can fill out a rotation.

ETA: 2009. His battle through elbow pain and the tumultuous season that arose because of the pain temporarily stalled his shot at Shea. With 33 games pitched under his belt at Binghamton, he has a decent shot at starting 2008 with New Orleans but chances are he will return to Binghamton to start the season and have to work his way up to Triple-A. Therefore, it looks like his shot cracking into the big leagues may be held off until the second half of the 2009 season.

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