He followed up his solid debut season that saw him post a 3.94 ERA with 41 strikeouts in just 32 innings in short-season Pulaski in 2015 with an admirable 4.26 ERA in Staten Island last year, but he lasted just six starts total dealing with a strain the flexor tendon of his throwing arm.
In fact, he last pitched in an official game way back on July 19th of last season and it put him on the shelf not only for the remainder of last season but for a good portion of this past offseason too. Dealing with the injury and after recovering from a flexor tendon strain in his arm, Drew says he has set himself up with a new mindset for the upcoming season and has made it abundantly clear that he has worked hard this offseason. He did a lot in order to prepare.
“I worked hard, I worked on my lower body and upper body strength as well as my backside and shoulder strength,” he said. “I worked on my endurance as well. I mainly just tried to take pressure off my elbow and my flexor tendon so I can have a good long season this year.”
Not only did he work on the field improving his game, he worked off the field as well. He has a new mindset going into this season that he believes will help him.
“My mindset has changed the most this offseason, learning how to block out distractions [mostly]," he opined. "Last year gave me a mindset of what to do this year. This year is going to be good."
Unfortunately during camp he was in the middle of rehab for his arm. He didn’t have much of a Spring Training here in Tampa as a result and despite having the talent to break camp with a long-season league club he finds himself in Extended Spring Training to get more innings and build up arm strength.
“Right now is kind-of like my Spring Training since I started throwing so late," he said. "But it is going good. My arm feels great. My fastball velocity is up. I developed a changeup that is going to be a good addition to my repertoire. My curveball has been there since day one. I am ready for a good full season this year.”
Looking to put last year behind him, the biggest thing he is working on is consistency; knowing how to continue working the ball, change the batter's eye level, having a good mechanic repetition, all of which should help improve his command too. He’s being consistent with his own work to help put his team in a good spot to win when he does eventually break Extended Spring Training camp.
In fact, given his dearth of innings a year ago Finley wasn’t all that shocked or disappointed not breaking into one of the long-season league teams. He knew he would start his beginning of the season in Extended Spring tTaining.
“I knew of the plan since I started throwing later [than everyone else]," he admitted. "I am working on building my innings still. Once I am ready to go, wherever team I go, hopefully I can go out there and improve my development. Whenever I get the opportunity to compete for a team, don’t be shocked if I move fast.”
Hell-bent on making up for lost time and finally feeling strong both mentally and physically, Finley says he is really close to being ready to break camp. In the time he hopes to build up his arm strength and confidence in Extended Spring Training. Having set himself up with personal goals, he is looking to take off soon.
“Once I’m ready to go, it’s on the gas pedal,” he concluded.