5. Adam Conley, LHP
Drafted: 2011, 2nd round out of Washington State University
Age: 23 Height: 6'3'' Weight: 185 lbs.
Adam Conley has done nothing put up results since the Marlins stole him in the second round of the 2011 Draft. Sure, at times his overpowering fastball is what separates him from less experienced hitters in the Minors, but Conley has shown the ability to also use his changeup and slider to generate a lot of missed bats and keep hitters on their toes. Conley has a great projectable frame, he's a great competitor and student of the game, and he definitely has the repertoire to make a huge impact on the success of future Marlins teams.
Conley throws four primary pitches; a four-seam fastball that can touch 97, a two-seam fastball that sits around 92-93, a changeup, and a slider. His changeup and slider both have their moments, but both need more consistency. With that being said, neither of those two pitches, especially his changeup, were even close to the level they are at now. As I wrote in April of 2012, Conley is a knowledgable pitcher who studies the game and should be able to consistently improve his weaknesses.
In 2012, Conley's first full professional season, he pitched a ton of innings in both Greensboro and Jupiter. Working at times in the same rotation as Jose Fernandez, Conley definitely was able to steal the spotlight from Fernandez some times with absolutely dominant performances. In 2013, Conley continued to shine, this time in 138.2 innings pitched for Double-A Jacksonville. There, he posted a 2.95 FIP and struck out 8.37 batters per nine innings. If I was being completely honest, I'd have to say that I was almost expecting a little more out of Conley in 2013. Sure, that sounds absolutely ridiculous considering his statistics, but at the rate Conley moved in 2012, I was hoping he'd crack the Majors by the end of last year. Nonetheless, Conley was able to develop his repertoire in Jacksonville last year and he appears primed for a breakout 2014.
With the Marlins starting rotation depth, Conley will likely start out the season back in the Minors. However, the Marlins want to see Conley up in Miami and I wouldn't be surprised if he worked his way into the rotation by mid-May. Adam Conley has a very bright future in the Majors and he's a good bet to become a reliable #3 or #4 starter for years to come.