Goody Makes Great Impression

Goody has three scoreless appearances so far

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Nicky Goody signed with the Yankees not too long ago, yet he sparkled in his debut with the Staten Island ball club, fanning four batters over the final two frames without allowing a hit. Although the coaching staff has very little experience with the 20-year-old right-hander, they spoke high praise of Goody after his first performance.

"It's kind of what I expected coming from LSU," Staten Island manager Justin Pope said. "Great baseball conference, the SEC. It didn't surprise me he was attacking guys. Good breaking pitch, looked like he had some velocity on his fastball. So it was good."

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Goody was named Suncoast Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2011 while attending State College of Florida, a JUCO. The Yankees drafted him in the 22nd round following that year, but Goody instead opted to close for the LSU Tigers. His decision to return to school in the more rigorous SEC conference is now paying dividends for the hurler.

"Going to LSU helped me mature and deal with big crowd situations, " Goody said. "You're playing in front of seven to ten thousand people a night. So it was good for me to get out there and pitch in front of that many people, learn how to keep myself composed. Also to deal with failure too in front of those crowds."

Goody commended the LSU staff for their efforts in helping him grow on the mound. It was there where he realized being mentally tough is as important to a pitcher as having sound mechanics.

"I went there, and our head coach Paul Mainieri was awesome with me. He gave me all the opportunities in the fall," Goody explained. "Unfortunately, I wasn't as good as I should have been but I was happy I failed in the fall because it helped me deal with adversity for when I dealt with it in the spring.

"Our pitching coach, Alan Dunn, he put it in our heads not to walk anybody and fill up the zone, and if they hit it, they hit it. I was a little [upset] about the walk [in the opener]. But it's baseball, it happens," he added.

The Yankees' coaches typically operate a 30-day wait and see approach with new pitchers, but they aren't rushing to tinker with Goody right now anyway. He's added a couple miles an hour to his fastball since last season, and now it sits in the 92-94 range, touching 96 every so often.

Pitching coach Carlos Chantres believes if Goody continues attacking hitters and commanding the strike zone, he's likely to remain a staple in the back end of Staten Island's bullpen.

"What you saw was pretty good. He goes after these guys with his fastball. He's got a good quality slider, and I think he's going to help the team tremendously," Chantres said.

Even though Goody is still developing his slider, it's proven to be a valuable weapon for him as a reliever in college. Now that he's playing professionally, Goody's focus is adding more to his repertoire and getting acclimated with a different ball.

"I can work on all the pitches, but I'm working on throwing [the slider] more consistently for strikes, and get with these new balls, those smaller seams. I'm starting to get more of a feel for it," Goody said.

"I throw a changeup. I really didn't throw many in the closer role at LSU, but I like it. I was throwing a cutter for a little while, but we put that on the back burner to focus more on my slider."

A telltale stat that works in Goody's favor is three – that's the number of walks he issued in 32 1/3 innings with LSU last season, while also striking out 45 batters. Goody isn't resting on his laurels, however.

"You can always get better at everything. There's nothing that I don't want to improve on," Goody admitted, "I want to get stronger. I want to be more consistent. I want to be able to hit [the catcher's] spots when he puts down fastball.

"I want to be able throw changeup, on the black at the knees. If you locate any pitch, it's going to be effective. I missed a few spots with the fastball, but fortunately I was able to get by a few guys."

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