Foley Flashing Potential

Foley would like to cut down on the walks

STATEN ISLAND, NY - Righthanded pitcher Jordan Foley is in the midst of his first professional season with the Staten Island Yankees after being drafted in the fifth round this year. The former Central Michigan starter is still getting acclimated to professional ball but has pitched well so far, and impressed many with his deceptive fastball and overall abilities.

"He's really good," manager Mario Garza said prior to Monday's start. "He's been really good so far. He came out ready to go and was not intimidated by any hitters. He came out attacking. He's got a swing and miss slider, a fastball with good velocity and good run so we're very happy with what we're seeing."

The 21-year old is still adjusting to playing at the professional level. One major adjustment he has faced is pitching to a strong, deep lineup.

"The whole lineup can hit," Foley noted as the major difference between college and the pros. "In college all you need to really worry about is like the one through five, one through six, but here one through nine can hurt you."

Foley is learning to make sure he is locked into every pitch and attacking each and every batter. He admits his walk rates are not where he would like them to be and that the ball has gotten away from him a little bit in the early going.

"I think I'm doing pretty well right now," he said, "just not on my walk rates. I'm walking too many guys right now, letting too many guys get on base, hitting a few guys too. I just have to limit the guys getting on base, free passes, and walks and that will make it a lot easier on me."

Despite walking seven batters in 17.1 innings so far, Staten Island pitching coach Tim Norton loves the competitive drive of the young pitcher and is especially keen of his fastball, which he considers his best attribute while on the mound.

"Foley's been great for us," Norton said. "He's been throwing strikes, he's got a live arm and it has only been getting better since he has been here. He has a sharp slider and a split change that he throws. He's really good too so he's been doing well and it's good to see."

Foley considers himself a fastball pitcher and both Garza and Norton see the power behind this pitch.

"It's low 90's which is great but it tends to get on guys real quick, its one of those sneaky deceptive fastballs, how it comes out of his hands," Norton said. "It plays up.. it might be 93 but it plays about 95 to the hitter."

"He has a chance to get it by hitters especially since he has some deception in his fastball," Garza added. "It's a very good pitch."

"I think when I'm aggressive with it, it has worked alright," Foley said. "But, just again realizing that these guys can get a hold of my fastball and they can do some damage with it, so then mixing in the offspeed, making sure all of that is working so I can keep the hitters off-balance."

As far as secondary pitches go, as Norton mentioned, he has a very sharp slider and a split change. The slider is what stands out the most to Garza who described it again as a "swing and miss slider". Norton and Foley are not really working on fine-tuning any specific pitch just yet but more so working on consistency and pitching in the zone.

"I have a slider and a split-change," Foley said. "I've been throwing the sliders to both sides. I've been starting to throw the changeup to both lefties and righties too so just making sure I'm mixing those in effectively."

Norton admires the technique Foley has on the mound. Being in the Yankee Organization since 2006, Norton knows a good pitcher when he sees one. Norton compared the pitching style of Foley to that of Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers.

"He's one of those guys who has a really good finish out front," Norton said. "He really stays through the ball. One guy I would look at in the big leagues is Scherzer..who has a really good finish. He really gets out there. In a way I can see him being like Scherzer, but that's a big comparison. Just kind of the way he stays on the ball and finishes a pitch."

Moving forward, gaining more experience will be crucial for the young player. Learning to pitch at the professional level comes with experience and innings on the mound. Both Garza and Norton want him to gain more experience and work on being more consistent.

"He just doesn't have experience at this point and that's nothing of his fault just because he's new to the pro game," Garza said. "So, I just really want him to gain experience and to continue learning how to pitch and continue to keep attacking hitters."

Foley knows what is expected of him and what needs to be done. He is working on improving his consistency with delivery as well as his mechanics.

"I just want to keep getting better every day and see where that takes me," Foley concluded.

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