Drew Finley is in Extended Spring Training to polish his overall game but mostly improve his changeup.

TAMPA, FL -- Drafted straight out of high school at the age of 18, Drew Finley looks to take his hard working mentality and his desire to become a perfectionist to the baseball diamond with the Yankees in his second year, and more specifically he aims to improve his changeup to the point where it's on par with his advanced fastball-curveball combination.

With 41 strikeouts off of 32 innings pitched in his debut season with the Pulaski Yankees in the Appalachian League last year, the right-handed pitcher has shown that he is able to bring his success from high school over to the minors.

“Last season was a really great experience, coming out of high school,” Finley said. “It’s just a whole different experience and honestly I am just very happy with my outings and I wanted to carry it off to the offseason and make me work harder to where I am today.”

Finley has been transitioning well from high school to professional baseball, although he knows that he still has to get used to the pitching rotation schedule and gaining consistency, which are some qualities that he is becoming more accustomed to, especially being the young pitcher that he is.

“Coming from high school being on seven days and then working on five, six-day rotation now, it’s always something that you have to get ready for both mentally and physically,” Finley said. “Coming out of high school, there were things that I could get away with that I couldn’t get away with in pro ball so I have learned quickly with that.”

Overcoming these challenges are highly attainable for Finley, who has an extremely high work ethic that is hard to match. Much of his success and drive can be attributed to his ability to work hard, his desire to be successful and his willingness to learn and adapt. He has a lot of potential and he is showing it off in Extended Spring Training.

“You’re never at your full potential," Finley said.  "There’s always room to grow.  Every day is going to be a different experience.  You’re not going to feel 100 percent each day but just tell yourself that you are and make sure that you get your full potential out of it.”

During Spring Training camp Finley worked on getting his mechanics correct and also gained some more muscle to get his body and mind right for Extended Spring Training. Being this was Finley’s first Spring Training camp he was able to work on his pitches, his mechanics, his mentality and much more.

Finley feels like he had a good Extended Spring Training thus far too. No matter if he has a good or bad game, he feels that regardless of the result that he will always have something to work on whether it’s physically or mentally, which another great trait of Finley.

“I’ve done very well, just again, I’m never satisfied," he admitted.  "Each outing if it's good or bad I always need to work on something."

In high school, Finley was a highly dominant pitcher, however, there is still much to work on while in Extended Spring Training. With the adjustment of playing professional baseball, Finley has shown glimpses of becoming that dominant pitcher who can work his way up to the majors.

Pulaski pitching coach Butch Henry sees Finley’s potential and believes that once he is more consistent he will become a dominant pitcher once again.

“He shows flashes of a guy who can compete at the higher level,” Henry said.

Henry also believes that Finley has a great work ethic and that Finley’s work ethic will ultimately lead him to a successful pitching career.

“He’s’ a guy that we have to pull on the reigns as opposed to prod him to do more," Henry admitted.  "We’re always having to pull him back and that’s one of the attributes of a guy that’s going to have success. I like his work ethic, I like the fact the he’s never satisfied; he’s a bit of a perfectionist, he likes to succeed, likes to do well.”

Finley has the proper mentality and drive to become a successful pitcher. He is also working on adding a third pitch into his repertoire, and perfecting all of his pitches, including his changeup.

Finley’s fastball and breaking ball have been pitches that were always very good. Finley has been able to properly control his fastball, and his breaking ball has not been much of a concern since high school, where he was able to perfect the pitch. Finley’s curveball is also very effective.

"We stress fastball command here and he’s gotten to a point now where he can throw it with some command to the outer third or the inner third when he wants to,” Henry said. “His breaking ball has always been really good even in high school the reports were it was an A-plus-plus pitch.”

Compared to his fastball and breaking ball, however, Finley’s changeup needs a little more work. Finely has been working hard on perfecting it and is much more confident about it than he was a year ago. The changeup is the pitch that he has been working the most on during Extended Spring Training and it's probably one of the reasons he didn't break camp with a long-season league team this year.

“I’m feeling a lot of confidence with it and throwing it [more] in difficult counts where I need to get ahead,” Finley said. “I’m really happy with it and how it has progressed.”

Henry also sees the development of Finley’s changeup and knows that once the pitch is completely progressed that Finley will be in a great spoit in his professional career.

“He’s starting to gain some confidence in his changeup," Henry said.  "He’s starting to be able to use it in counts when he needs to and his overall fastball command,” Henry said. “Once that changeup comes around and he gains the confidence to throw that in any count, he should be in a really good position."


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