Off The DL, Foley Looking To Improve

CHARLESTON, SC - Looking back at his days at Central Michigan, Jordan Foley had one pitch -- the fastball. Clocking it at 93 mph, it was his best pitch, even if it was his only pitch. Now, as a pitcher for the Riverdogs, he’s been doing a lot to improve and perhaps change up his pitches.

Foley got off to an inauspicious start in Charleston this season, posting a 4.50 ERA in his first three starts but then went down on the disabled list for about a month. Tossing eleven shutout innings since his return, however, now he’s back and better than ever.

The Yankees drafted the 6-foot-4 Texas native in the 5th round last year and he had a solid debut season with the Staten Island Yankees, posting a 4.46 ERA with more strikeouts [37] than innings pitched [34.1] while splitting time between relieving and starting.

He went to his first Spring Training camp this year to work out and improve his skills, mostly though on building up his endurance to continue his progression from the bullpen to the starting rotation.

“I just wanted to get stronger and have my body in the best shape as possible,” Foley said of his first camp. “I think I got in better shape than I’ve ever been in. I made sure I got my body ready for a long season.”

Ironically, however, his first full season was cut short just three starts into it when he went on the disabled list earlier this season for some arm soreness and a little discomfort in the elbow. After a little bit of rest, he was back working out and was able to prove to his coaches that the injury wasn’t setting him back.

“He missed a couple starts here and there, but he came back and his fastball was still there," manager Luis Dorante said. "Using it and getting ahead, and using it most of the time are what are working. His aggressiveness is paying off."

His aggressiveness and his fastball command are two things that his coaches notice immediately about him. So far this season it’s been working pretty well, but like anything, it can always use improvement.

“He’s a guy who gets away with a lot in his own and his fastball plays up and that’s what we’re working on. Priority number one is that fastball command,” Riverdogs pitching coach Tim Norton said.

Even Foley admits that the overall command of the location could use some work but he’s not getting down on himself. And from the looks of it, he’s switching up his pitches too more now than he was in college and even last season in Staten Island.

His slider has always been a good pitch for him, especially out of the bullpen, but mixing in a third pitch has been a big key in his transition to starting. He has been working on that split-changeup, a pitch he threw some last year, more and more and it seems to be working well so far this season.

“It’s becoming my second best pitch," Foley said. "It’s developing well and I am able to command it better. This season it’s my main strikeout pitch if I need it. It’s what I go to with a right-handed hitter or left-handed hitter."

Norton, who used to throw a very good splitter of his own back in his playing days, has some expertise in the area and says himself that it’s a potential wipeout pitch.

“It needs a little more consistency as far as the shape of it and being able to throw it with that shape and that bottom more---that’s what we’re gonna need. He has the pitch; it's there," Norton commented.

The whole three-pitch mix has been looking solid since his return from the disabled list too. Not only has he thrown back to back shutout performances since his return, but he's allowed just four hits in those eleven innings and he has struck out 14 batters.

As the season progresses Foley is focused on maximizing his abilities on the mound and continuing to tally up strikeouts. Since last season in Staten Island he feels more confident and he is starting to understand better how hitters work in professional baseball. There is always room for improvement and Dorante believes that once he learns a little more about control he’s going to be a tough one to beat.

“If we can teach him a little more about a better approach and keep him on the right track with his pitches, he’ll be good. He’s got a good shot. He has to continue to strike out guys and keep doing what he’s doing," Dorante concluded.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories