Adam Conley will need to build off strong performance

MIAMI, FL - JULY 18: Adam Conley
MIAMI, FL - JULY 18: Adam Conley /

Adam Conley clearly has the talent to pitch for the Miami Marlins. His lack of consistency is what has been most maddening.

After demoting lefty Adam Conley for two months earlier this season, the Miami Marlins have now given him two starts in July. He performed well in his return against the Phillies, and was stellar against the Rangers on Monday.

If he’s able to maintain his success regularly, he’ll find himself in the rotation for the 2018 season. But that’s a big “if”. The Miami Marlins have given him opportunities in the past. After a similarly strong start to the season this year, his performance fell off the table after a few starts.

Adam Conley’s audition is more about stringing together strong starts, not isolated performances.

Nobody doubts his ability to throw the occasional gem. You’ll recall a no-hitter through 7.2 innings last season. He’s shown the ability to keep opposing lineups off balance on any give night. But strong performances are often surrounded by abbreviated outings.

Too often, Conley doesn’t make it as far as the fifth inning. His hot-or-cold performance is evidenced by the fluctuations in his game score. In eight starts this season, Conley has logged GSC’s of 64, 52, 59, 8, 46, 20, 49, 68. His average for the season is 46, indicative of below-average performance.

The fact that he followed a six inning, one earned run performance with an outing that lasted 1.2 innings and surrendered nine earned runs is a microcosm of his tenure at the pro level.

For the next two months, the Miami Marlins will will be watching Adam Conley’s game-to-game performance. How he follows up his seven inning shutout is more important than the fact that he pitched a seven inning shutout.

Where Conley fits in 2018

Conley is essentially battling for a spot against fellow lefty Chris O’Grady. Conley gets a slight edge from the get-go over O’Grady because of where he was drafted, and his history with the Marlins. The team also feels he has a much higher ceiling.

For years, O’Grady twiddled his thumbs in the Los Angeles Angels organization, unable to break in with the pro club due to his lack of a third pitch. He’s developed a viable change up, and now he’s getting a chance in the bigs.

While O’Grady projects as a fifth rotation starter if he is able to make the team, Conley is more difficult to pin down. He could slot as high as number two in the rotation in 2018, though a third or fourth spot seems more likely.

If Conley is the second best pitcher in the rotation, it’s probably not a playoff caliber rotation.

Next: Miami Marlins quiet at the deadline

Adam Conley’s next start will be on Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds. The team will be looking for a quality start; six innings, three earned runs or fewer allowed.