Devaney earns Pitcher of the Year honors

The marks on Mike Devaney's career as a Mets pitching prospect, to date, have been that the right-hander doesn't have the best stuff in the system, nor does he have the cache that comes with being a high draft selection.

No matter. After a breakout 2006 season in which he impressed onlookers at two levels, Devaney now has a Sterling Organizational Pitcher of the Year award to make up the difference.

"In the beginning of every year, I've had to start over and kind of show everybody that I could throw," Devaney said recently. "Hopefully I can keep improving and maybe next year start [at Binghamton] and end up in Triple-A."

Devaney, 24, was a 23rd round selection in 2004 from Concordia. He went a combined 12-5 with a 2.13 ERA in 27 games between two levels. With the Class-A St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League, Devaney went 8-3 with a 1.62 ERA in 16 starts, including two complete games and one shutout.

Twice named the FSL Pitcher of the Week (May 1-7, June 19-25), Devaney was selected as an All-Star at that level before being promoted to Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League in early July.

With the B-Mets, Devaney went 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 11 games, getting a nice handle on the level with 53 innings of work. He allowed 39 hits and 19 runs (18 earned), walking 35 and striking out 43, and spoke of the experience as an adjustment period.

"I'm not really comfortable mentally yet," Devaney said in August. "It's been slow to come around, but I've been battling to keep my body settled down."

The key, Devaney said, was controlling his fastball and finding his change-up with a new arm angle. Despite the strong results that earned him the staff nickname, "The Magician," Devaney switched to form that has him throwing less apart his body.

"They think, in the long run, it will be better for me to straighten out my body more," Devaney said. "[I can] come straight toward home. It's been a little bit of an adjustment."

Binghamton pitching coach Mark Brewer acknowledged the changes in Devaney's motion. Having watched Devaney pitch through the tail end of the Eastern League season, Brewer believes the right-hander has more than a few good outings left in him.

"Somehow, he [was] getting through the fifth inning into the sixth inning without his best stuff," Brewer said. "He's not going to overpower anybody. He's a bulldog when he gets out there. His mindset is to beat these guys or whoever he pitches against.

"Hopefully that pays off for him and he continues to execute the way he will have to execute at the big league level."

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