Devaney Dominate in Preventing Runs

He was known as Michael "No Decision" Devaney during his first eight starts with the Brooklyn Cyclones this season. Now that nickname his no longer valid and he could be now called Michael "Dominate" Devaney, because that is just what Devaney has been this season for the Cyclones. In 13 starts this year Devaney has allowed more than one earned run just twice. He has allowed no earned runs three times. His 1.85 ERA ranks him first in the NY-Penn League.

"If you just look at his stats" say's Cyclones pitching coach Hector Berrios "he clearly is the ace of our staff."

The problem for Devaney the first half of this season were his command problems. In his first 27.1 innings, stretching seven starts Devaney had allowed 21 walks. Devaney went five innings just once and had a 0-0 record.

Since then Devaney has made 6 starts and has picked up four victories in those starts. He has allowed just 8 walks in his last 36 innings.

As all young pitchers coming into professional baseball it takes time to get acclimated to your routine. Rick Peterson has stressed a constant release point this year as one of his strong philosophies and Devaney struggled early on to find his release point.

"Young pitchers have trouble repeating their motion, and then they get out of their delivery, and that is why they get in trouble many times" Tijerina said. "Michael has just been working extremely hard on that, and you now see all that work paying off."

Cyclones pitching coach Hector Berrios agrees. "With Michael he had trouble finding a constant release point in his motion and that will lead to a high number of walks. He is getting to that point. He is not all the way there yet, but is improving."

Devaney expected to be drafted by the Mets because he had a very strong relationship with the scout who eventually drafted him, however was unsure come draft day because several other teams had serious interest in him.

"I didn't really know what to expect, there were a few teams talking to me. I just wanted to go in optimistic and hope for the best" said Devaney on his draft experience. "The second day I was just laying around sitting on the couch not knowing what to expect and the 23rd round came around, and was very stoked when I heard my name."

Devaney was well prepared for the Brooklyn atmosphere because of his conversations with the Mets before signing.

"I asked many questions about the organization, where I would play and stuff like that. I just wanted to be prepared" said Devaney who was a Mariners fan while growing up in Camas, Washington.

Devaney however was not fully convinced he would pitch in professional baseball. Several teams had Devaney on their draft list, however had turned him in as a hitter. Devaney, who was turned in as an outfielder, was the designated hitter on days he did not pitch for Concordia University. In 33 games he hit .409 (56-137) with 10 home runs and 42 rubs batted in. He also hit 10 doubles while scoring 33 times.

"I think if a team would have drafted me as a hitter it would have been in a much later round" Devaney said.

Devaney has featured a very slow curve ball in which hitters at the NY-Penn League level have hard times adjusting to it, after seeing his fastball. Devaney has such confidence in his curveball he has thrown it on 0-0 counts several occasions this year which leaves the hitter confused in the batters box, while looking at strike one.

"Getting my curveball in for a first pitch strike is huge for me" he say's.

Devaney began throwing his curveball at the age of 12. He was blessed with a strong arm at a young age and never really threw his curveball in games, but did have it as a show pitch, in which he would use it to show it off to friends, coaches and opponents at times. By the time he got to high school he felt it was the correct time to begin throwing it seriously, and since that point it has been his most comfortable pitch.

"I'll throw it on any count" say's Devaney.

However don't think of Devaney as a two pitch pitcher. He also has a changeup and a slider that he occasionally throws. In an August 21 start at New Jersey Devaney threw his curveball roughly 20-25 times in an 85 pitch outing. However his next start on August 26 Devaney rarely threw his curveball, while concentrating on his fastball and his changeup.

"Locating my fastball is huge for me" he say's. "It will allow me to get ahead and then set up the hitter to hit my pitch."

"Pitching inside is the biggest adjustment I had to make" said Devaney. "In college you really didn't try to pitch inside because with the aluminum bats the hitter would still get a hit. But here hitters know the inside is vulnerable and they would protect that a lot and that opens up the outside. The wooden bats create a whole different ball game."

Pitching coach Hector Berrios and Devaney both agree he needs to tighten his curveball as he moves up to higher levels of the minor leagues.

"More experienced hitters will hit his curveball the way it is now" say's Berrios.

Devaney currently throws his curveball around 70 mph and would like to add 4-6 mph on it.

"I have been working on that with each start. I feel I am progressing, but it is a process" Devaney say's.

Devaney who threw a no hitter in his sophomore year of college against Rockies young pitcher Jeff Francis, has certainly begun to create a small stir in Brooklyn. Devaney who is expected to head to the instructional league after the Cyclones season ends is looking forward to the playoffs and say's these final starts put no added pressure on him.

"I have pitched at home in the majority of my starts, and I think it is good to play in this pressure situation so early in my professional career. I just look at each start as being nothing more than a start, no matter what is at stake."

The first half of his starts compared to the second half of his starts is exactly what minor league baseball should be about – development as a player.

"Michael is the pure definition of development" said Tijerina.

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