Conley hoping to put it all together in 2016

Southpaw continuing to refine his mound approach as he vies for a spot in Marlins' rotation

Conley hoping to put it all together in 2016

SUNRISE, Fla. -- There were times during his 2015 rookie season when Adam Conley offered snapshots of the kind of pitcher he ultimately may become. The Marlins envision the 25-year-old left-hander eventually being a top-of-the-rotation candidate.

A second-round Draft pick in 2011, Conley is part of the organization's big picture. He's a promising southpaw with a fastball that could range in the mid-to-upper 90s. What he has yet to do is put everything together.

Still, after opening last season at Triple-A New Orleans, Conley showed signs down the stretch of being an imposing lefty for any lineup to face. In five September starts, he was 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 30 and issuing nine walks in 28 1/3 innings. Prior to being called up, the former Washington State standout was 9-3 with a 2.52 ERA at New Orleans.

"I think that was a good kick-starter for me," Conley said. "It actually came at the end of the year."

Among the changes he made was speeding up his tempo between pitches.

"I was looking at some still images of myself throwing," Conley said. "I just didn't really like what I saw. I didn't think it looked like me. I wanted to go back and make sure I was being myself and that I was just being the best version of myself."

Conley strikes out eight

Marlins pitchers and catchers open Spring Training workouts on Friday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Conley and right-handed reliever Scott McGough took part in an event for the Marlins Play Ball Week caravan on Saturday. They signed autographs for an hour at Markham Park and showed support for the boy scouts in the Scout Masters Camporee area.

When Spring Training begins, Conley will be in the mix for a back-of-the-rotation spot.

With 67 big league innings under his belt, Conley is looking to get back to the basics.

"There was definitely stuff I wasn't happy about with my delivery last year," Conley said. "From the time that I signed, and in my years in professional baseball, a big goal was to improve the consistency of my secondary stuff and my ability to throw strikes with my secondary stuff. Somewhere along the way, I feel like I lost the aggressiveness and the athleticism I had in my delivery when I signed."

According to Fangraphs, Conley's average fastball was 91.2 mph. He's thrown in the mid-to-upper 90s in the Minor Leagues.

"So now, I've had a high priority this offseason to basically go back to the drawing board on where I can find that power again in my delivery," said Conley. "So I've made some adjustments -- just to increase that feeling again of athleticism in my delivery and letting it all work for me."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.