Name: Joey Maher
DOB: August 5, 1992
Repertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Curveball.
Fastball. The epitome of the two sides to a coin adage, Maher's fastball is a little Jekyll & Hyde; velocity-wise it appears just a tick above average and nothing really special on the radar gun, sitting mostly in the 90-92 mph range with his sinking two-seamer. However, his barely above average fastball can play to a plus level at times with the great sinking movement he's able to generate with it. He used to have a hard time commanding his fastball because of how much it moved but that has become less of a problem in recent years. In fact, he's able to spot it up a lot better these days and he is also armed with a four-seam fastball that he can run up to 94-95 mph at times that allows him to keep hitters honest in the upper-half of the strike zone and pitch lefties inside more. Standing 6-foot-5 and finally gaining his man strength, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he isn't done adding power either.
Other Pitches. What also allows Maher's fastball to play a level up in his plus changeup. Like his sinking two-seamer, his changeup, which averages anywhere from 79-82 mph, has a lot of fade and depth to it and he'll throw to both right-handers and lefties either for a contact out-pitch or for a strikeout. It was and still remains his main strikeout weapon. What has changed recently though is his curveball. He had always flashed above average potential with his curveball, sitting mostly in the high-70s with true 12 to 6 biting action, but it was never a consistent pitch for him; until this past season. He can now throw it for strikes consistently and he's not afraid to use it in any count.
Pitching. Maher's main plan on the mound is to induce early count contact with his two-seamer/changeup combination and let his defense work behind him, and that plan has not deviated since entering the farm system. What has changed though is he's a bit better equipped to put batters away when he does get ahead in counts. He's added a bit more power to his fastball over the years and now his more reliable curveball gives him yet another weapon to put batters away with, and his pitch control has improved too, and that little bit extra across the board in his overall pitch-ability has his confidence brimming too. It is very noticeable on the mound. He is quite agile too for a taller hurler and his mechanics, once a problem area, are no longer an issue.
Projection. While Maher's game has changed over the years his projection really hasn't altered much. He always had the ceiling of a middle to back-end big league starting pitcher and that still remains today. What has changed though is his better chance of reaching that kind of ceiling, thanks in large part to bettering his fastball command, improving his mechanics, and dramatically improving the consistency with his curveball. He best compares to former Yankee pitching prospect and current Cleveland Indians reliever Zach McAllister as a taller sinker-ball/changeup hurler who can help out a big league staff in a number of ways, and like McAllister he has the chance to keep on slowly and gradually improving over time.
ETA. 2017. Maher is already 23 years old now and will need to make up for lost time [due to both injury and slower progress at the lowest minor league levels in previous years] rather soon. He should open up in high-A Tampa to start the 2016 season and a promotion to Double-A later in the year seems very likely if he continues to pitch well.