Scouting Mets' Prospect #43: Michael Devaney

The New York Mets drafted Michael Devaney out of Concordia University in the 23rd round of the 2004 draft. Making his debut with the Cyclones this past season, Devaney was among the NY-Penn League leaders in ERA. Ranking #43 among the Mets' Top 50 prospects, here's a scouting report on Devaney.

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

Devaney was a two-way player at Concordia University, hitting on days when he was not pitching and playing some outfield. His final year of school Devaney hit .409 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI in 33 games at the plate, scoring 33 runs as well. While he was a fantastic hitter in college, Devaney was obviously more noted for his pitching on the mound. In his sophomore season, Devaney threw a no-hitter against Rockies' super pitching prospect Jeff Francis. Despite pitching for a smaller school, the Mets drafted him on day two of the 2004 draft and assigned him to Brooklyn.

Devaney had a rough go of it in the beginning. He picked up a no decision in each of his first eight starts and allowed 21 (of his 29 for season) walks in his first 27 1/3 innings pitched. He had a hard time adjusting to the concept of challenging hitters, most notably pitching them inside. "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 (in the pros) 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." Aside from learning to pitch inside more, Devaney's other big problem was being consistent in his delivery. "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," said Cyclones' Manager Tony Tijerina. "Michael has just been working extremely hard on that, and you now see all that work paying off."

The results from his hard work can not be denied. In his final six starts for the Cyclones, Devaney went 5-0 and walked just eight batters in his final 42 innings pitched. He finished in the top five in the NY-Penn League in ERA and wound up with a perfect 5-0 record. "If you just look at his stats," said Cyclones pitching coach Hector Berrios, "he clearly was the ace of our staff."

It is always a tough transition from college to the pros. Devaney obviously turned a corner from the beginning of the season to the second half of the season. But what does Devaney think he needs to improve on to make that leap towards realizing his dream of becoming a Major League pitcher someday? "For the most part I was just trying to become more mechanically sound, to be more consistent on the mound. In college you face some good players but there you can get away with a few bad pitches here and there. I wound up walking a few too many guys and I just wanted to work on my consistency. So that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to pitch enough innings to become more consistent", Devaney told NYfansonly.com.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2004

Brooklyn

5-0

69.1

58

29

56

1.95


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Devaney's fastball averages around 89-90 MPH and tops off at 93 MPH. Without a dominating fastball, he sets up his fastball very well with his breaking pitches so it appears a lot faster than it actually is.

Other Pitches. Devaney throws a curveball that sits in the low 70s, averaging between 68-74 MPH. He throw a slider that ranges from 76-79 MPH and a changeup that catches 74-78 MPH on the gun. He'll throw his curveball on any count, often setting up the hitters with a first-pitch strike with his curveball. While he has excellent command of his curveball, Devaney realizes he'll need to tighten it up and throw it a little quicker. He's looking to add 4-6 MPH on his curveball.

Pitching. Devaney is a balanced pitcher, using his off speed and breaking pitches to set up his fastball. He has excellent command of his fastball and his curveball right now and is working on improving his changeup and slider. While he was not allowed to work on his slider at the Instructional Leagues in September, Devaney was focusing solely on improving his command of his changeup. He has a tireless work ethic and a thirst for getting better. He not only has a solid plan on the mound, he's the type of pitcher that will not rest until he reaches perfection.

Projection. It's a little too early to tell, but right now Devaney has a chance to become a solid back-end rotation starter down the road. He'll have to continue to post impressive numbers at the higher level in order to do that, but with his work ethic, he can not be counted out. With his solid breaking pitches, he has an excellent shot of reaching the Majors as a reliever at minimum.

ETA. 2007. Devaney is perhaps the one Cyclones' pitcher that could afford to skip a level next season and go right to St. Lucie. If he does go right to St. Lucie, he'll be on track to reach the Majors within three seasons, possibly earning a cup of coffee by 2007.

Starting Pitchers

2004 Team

Aaron Heilman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Bob Keppel

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Neal Musser AA - Binghamton Mets
Brian Bannister AA - Binghamton Mets
Yusmeiro Petit AA - Binghamton Mets
Miguel Pinanago A - St. Lucie Mets
Kevin Deaton A - St. Lucie Mets
Matthew Lindstrom A - Capital City Bombers
Vincent Cordova A - Capital City Bombers
Greg Ramirez A - Capital City Bombers
Evan MacLane A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Scott Hyde A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Michael Devaney A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Joseph Williams A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Mike Swindell A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Gaby Hernandez R - GCL Mets


Comments

The Mets have some good pitching prospects and the system's depth is only going to get better with the additions of Alay Soler, Matt Durkin, and Philip Humber. Considering they have not pitched a professional inning in the Mets system as of yet, we'll focus on the pitchers that have. Among the Mets' pitching prospects, Yusmeiro Petit and Gaby Hernandez seem to have the highest ceilings simply because of their age and talent. However, the Mets do have a number of other good pitching prospects that still have time on their side to make their mark. The following starting pitchers are currently in our Tier One group...the top starting pitching prospects in the Mets system.

1) Aaron Heilman - Heilman struggled out of the gate in 2004 but was perhaps the hottest pitcher in the entire Mets' system the second half of the year. All Heilman needs is a chance. Give the guy 30 starts and see what he can do. But that day may never come with the Mets as he appears to be in New York's doghouse. It's a shame too. He's a better pitcher than people think.

2) Bob Keppel - Like Heilman, Keppel struggled mightily to begin the 2004 campaign but finished the year strong. Keppel's always had the repertoire and pitching ability to become a Major League starter. The question has been his strikeout rate. Still only 22 years old and seems forgotten.

3) Neal Musser - With the trade of Scott Kazmir, Musser becomes the Mets' best left-handed starting pitching prospect. A top prospect a couple of years ago, Musser was beset with injuries and had a bounce back year in 2004. Musser is still only 24 years old and should not be forgotten.

4) Brian Bannister - His stats do not accurately portray how good a pitcher he is. Bannister has four plus pitches in his repertoire and has the chance to be a front-line starter someday. Remember, Bannister has only been pitching for 4 seasons...two in college, two in the pros. So as good as he is, he is still learning which is a scary thought.

5) Yusmeiro Petit - The Mets #1 pitching prospect the minute the Mets traded Kazmir. Forget about the pundits and all their talk about lack of "stuff". Petit knows how to pitch at such a young age (19). Drawing comparisons to Greg Maddux, Petit has the ability to change speeds on his fastball and is very deceptive on the mound. Bottom line is he's been baffling hitters from the word go.

6) Miguel Pinango - Pinango was cruising through the Mets system until an injury in St. Lucie ended his season in 2004 after just three starts. Pinango's command is superb. Only Petit's command is perhaps better and even that's not a lock. Still only 21 years old (he'll be 22 by the start of next season), Pinango is still a very good pitching prospect for the Mets.

7) Kevin Deaton - Growing up as an offensive lineman, Deaton is an imposing figure on the mound. Like Pinango, Deaton's rise through the system hit a speed bump in 2004 when he was plagued by injury (tendonitis). His fastball tops off at 94 MPH with solid movement and is still only 23 years old.

8) Matthew Lindstrom - Nobody throws as hard as Lindstrom does in the Mets' organization...nobody! Lindstrom is a fascinating talent that is getting a chance to showcase his stuff in the Arizona Fall League this year. With a fastball that regularly sits in the 94-96 MPH range, he can top it off at 100 MPH at times. Used primarily as a starter up to this point, his future seems to be in the bullpen...possibly as a closer.

9) Vincent Cordova - Cordova has the talent to be a very good pitching prospect for the Mets. Drafted out of college in 2003, Cordova needs to prove he can get hitters out at the higher level. Like Pinango and Petit, Cordova's success is predicated on his control. He's a Tier One prospect for now but time is not on his side.

10) Greg Ramirez - Used as both a starter and a relieve in his short career thus far, Ramirez is like Cordova. He has the talent and the stuff to be a Tier One pitching prospect for the Mets, but like Cordova, he's going to have to prove it at the higher levels to remain in this group. It's unclear how he will be used in the future.

11) Evan MacLane - MacLane gives the Mets' pitching in their farm system they seriously lack: quality left-handed pitching among their starting pitching prospects. MacLane was dominating South Atlantic League hitters in 2004 before being sent to Brooklyn where he had the same success. MacLane should be challenged in 2005 and will most likely be part of the St. Lucie staff. Like Ramirez, Cordova, Petit, and Pinango, MacLane is all about the control. He has great command of his pitches.

12) Scott Hyde - Hyde was not scheduled to pitch in live games this past season after being drafted but still managed to showcase some good pitching in his stint with the Cyclones. Hyde has the chance to be the "sleeper" among the Mets' 2004 draft picks.

13) Michael Devaney - Among the NY-Penn League leaders in ERA, Devaney is very solid. As is the case with most of the Cyclones' rotation, he'll have to duplicate the same success at the higher levels to remain in the Tier One level of starting pitching prospects.

14) Joseph Williams - Like Devaney, it's hard to dispute the success Williams had in Brooklyn this past season. The fact that he's a lefty aids his chances to be challenged quickly in the Mets' farm system.

15) Mike Swindell - Another college arm that was drafted in 2004 that will have to quickly prove he can become a solid starting pitching prospect for the Mets.

16) Gaby Hernandez - The Mets' third round pick in 2004, right now, Hernandez appears to be second behind Petit with the highest upside among the starting pitching prospects. It's too early to tell, but Hernandez has the talent to duplicate Petit's fast track through the minors.

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