Top 50 Jays Prospects, Jays Journal Edition: #42 Matt Daly

After #43 Justin Nicolino, a kid who has a great attitude and will be fun to watch in 2011, comes another pitcher at #42…

#42: Matthew Daly

Pitcher / 24 years old / 5′10″ 185 lbs

Born: August 14th, 1986 in Yorba Linda, CA, USA

Bats: Right    Throws: Right

High School Team: Esperanza Aztecs

College: University of Hawaii

Drafted by: The Toronto Blue Jays in the 13th round (399th overall) in the 2008 First-Year-Player Draft

Jersey Number: #17 for the Dunedin Blue Jays

Quick Facts:

  • Took a no-hitter into the 9th, eventually pitching a one hitter with 9 Ks for Hawaii in 2007
  • Played for the Hyannis Mets of the Cape Cod Baseball League from 2006-2007
  • He got his first win of the CCBL’s 2007 season with a no hitter
  • His no hitter in 2007 earned him the CCBL Pitcher of the Week honor for Week #7
  • Current Chicago White Sox 3B Gordon Beckham also played in the CCBL
  • His favorite baseball player is Nolan Ryan
  • His warm-up song in college was “Warriors” by Ky-Mani Marley
  • Majored in sociology in college
  • Grew up an Angels fan, and really likes Francisco Rodriguez
Year Age Level W L ERA G GF SV IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 K/9
2008 21 A- 2 2 1.46 23 17 5 24.2 19 4 0 10 28 1.176 6.9 3.6 10.2
2009 22 A/A+ 1 5 1.65 52 40 20 60.0 39 11 0 24 65 1.050 5.8 3.6 9.8
2010 23 A+ 2 2 2.50 56 51 31 57.2 45 16 2 23 63 1.179 7.0 3.6 9.8

Dunedin Blue Jays Team Stats Ranking for Matt Daly:

  • 1st in saves, 2nd in the entire Florida State League
  • 1st in appearances, 2nd in the entire Florida State League
  • 1st in games finished, 2nd in the entire Florida State League
  • 6th in strikeouts, despite only throwing 57.2 innings
  • 9th in ERA, but out of pitchers who appeared in at least 6 games Daly ranked 3rd
  • 10th in WHIP, out of pitchers who appeared in at least 6 games Daly ranked 4th

Interviews:
A pregame interview with Lansing Lugnuts announcer Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, primarily about how Daly pays attention throughout the game on how to attack hitters before he comes in:

A postgame interview with Lansing Lugnuts announcer Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, where Daly talks about what the experience is like when notching a save:

Extra Information and previous experience:

Matt Daly has had an impressive Minor League career so far that’s for sure, making him somewhat of a steal in the 13th round of the 2008 draft.

He started out as a reliever in college and finished as a starter. When the Blue Jays drafted him, however, they made him a late inning option in the bullpen right away. He signed quickly and managed to get 23 appearances in with the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League. There’s nothing to complain with his stats in 2008, because he finished with a 1.46 ERA in 24.2 innings, along with 28 strikeouts and zero home runs.

He had the benefit of working with pitching coach Antonio Caceres during his time with Auburn, where Daly confessed he was a “head whip type guy” and he worked a lot with Caceres on keeping his head down while on the mound.

Caceres ended up proceeding to Class-A Lansing with Daly the following year in 2009, which definitely helped Daly’s development. During Spring Training that year, Daly was able to calm the rest of his body down while out on the mound through working with Caceres, in addition to working on being quick to the plate.

Out of the low number of baserunners Daly allows, few try to steal on him. Daly said the reason for this was heavily working on his slide step in college, and again with Caceres in 2009 to ensure a quick delivery to the plate while delivering a quality pitch at the same time.

Daly’s strong strikeout numbers are primarily due to his 93-96 mph fastball, which helps him attack hitters and get ahead of them in counts. He can throw his slider for strikes as well, but sometimes throws a changeup as a third pitch to mix things up for opposing hitters.

Daly is destined to be a closer it seems, and he hinted in a college interview that he challenges hitters and will take outs any way they come :

“I can’t wait to get on the mound to toe the rubber and go after hitters as best I can,”

“In a perfect world, we’d like to throw three pitches, strike everybody out. But obviously, it’s not that way so it’s just going out and getting them out any way you can because an out is an out.”

Daly continued to effectively apply what he was learning from pitching coach Caceres in his 2009 season with Lansing, where doubled his workload over the year before and pitched 60 innings, notching 20 saves. Despite such an increase in innings, Daly’s statistics either stayed the same or improved over his 2008 season with Auburn.

In 44 games with Lansing in 2009, Daly struck out 54, finished 36 games, and had a 1.95 ERA. This strong showing earned him a late season promotion to Hi-A Dunedin, where he responded even stronger by not allowing any runs in 9.1 innings while striking out 11. As a result, Daly was able to stick with Dunedin and start out 2010 there.

This past season with Dunedin, Daly continued to shut lineups down on the mound. His ERA increased to 2.50 from 1.65 the previous year, but virtually all of his other statistics remained identical to his 2008-2009 numbers. Daly also finally gave up his first professional home run in 2010. That’s right, in 142.1 career innings so far, Matt Daly has given up just 2 home runs, both coming in 2010.

The one area that Daly has said he really wants to work on going forward is reducing the amount of walks he issues. He’s had a BB/9 of 3.6 in each of his Minor League seasons, for a total of 57 walks in 142.1 innings. If he continues to feed his appetite for pitching knowledge and demonstrate his willingness to take advice, it seems as though that issue should address itself in some capacity in 2011.

Daly has finished all three of his Minor League seasons with more strikeouts than innings pitched, and set new single season records for saves (31) and appearances (56) with Hi-A Dunedin this year as well.

It’s obvious that what Daly does on the field is impressive, but another reason to keep an eye on this guy is because of his work beyond the game of baseball. Daly received the 2010 Community Service Award for the Blue Jays organization, through reading to students at elementary schools, guest appearances at Dunedin Community Centre Summer Camps, and being one of the biggest promoters for a “Fight for the Cure” night against cancer. This was also all on top of various season ticket events, Booster Club dinners, and a heavy involvement with seniors throughout the season.

Expected 2011 Team: Double-A New Hampshire

Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: Closer

As always with Minor League relievers, it’s imperative that they have strong showings at the higher levels closer to the Majors, but so far so good for Matt Daly. It should be interesting to see him continue up the ladder and face Double-A hitters, with a token appearance at Triple-A before the end of the season a possibility as well.

-JM

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Tags: Dunedin Blue Jays (AA) Lansing Lugnuts Matthew Daly New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA) Toronto Blue Jays

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