Haley is ready to take off with the Aeros
Professional ball players often fall victim to the wear and tear of everyday baseball, but Akron Aeros’ right-hander Trey Haley is determined to beat the grind.
The 22-year-old pitcher was drafted by the Cleveland Indians organization in the second round of the 2008 draft. Haley attended Central Heights High School in Texas and signed with the Indians for $1.25 million instead of attending Rice University.
Haley has flirted with the disabled list this season after battling a groin injury last year. He played through the sports hernia in 2011 before undergoing surgery in June to correct it. Now, Haley says he’s one hundred percent better and ready to take on the task of simply improving his game.
“When [the injury] initially happened, they thought it was a groin issue which kept reoccurring over a year and a half,” Haley explained. “They finally had to take the other options and I’m glad that I did have the surgery so hopefully it won’t ever bother me again.”
Haley says his injury is now a moment of the past and a setback that was beyond his control. When he experiences a roadblock, he says the best approach is to keep a positive attitude.
“Just keep working hard. That’s all you can do, really. Just accept it and don’t dwell on it and just go out there and try to make yourself better.”
The Texas native enjoys hunting during the offseason, but when he’s toeing the rubber, he preys on hitters with his piercing fastball. “[I’m working on] just pounding the zone with my fastball and getting ahead of hitters,” he noted. “You know, try to finish them off with either fastballs or the breaking ball.”
Haley’s breaking ball has been a project in the works. Last season, he inserted a slider into his arsenal which he feels has been a formidable addition to his repertoire.
“It’s good,” he said. “That and my curveball are both out pitches and I can throw them both for strikes and when I see the hitter looking for whatever I set up.”
Haley still feels his fastball is his biggest strength, and rightfully so as the two-seamer has been clocked at 100 mph at one point. When mixed with his curveball and slider, the heater has proved to be a lethal combination. Through 12 games with the Carolina MudCats this year, Haley surrendered just eight hits and two runs while striking out 16 with an ERA of 1.04. He has only appeared in three games with the Akron Aeros, but has allowed just one run on a trio of hits while he has struck out six.
Now, the reliever is zeroing in on commanding his two-seamer and putting batters back on the bench. “[I’m working on] keeping my pitches down and working on throwing my two-seamer over the middle of the plate early on to get early outs and then if I get to two strikes, try to put them away,” he said.
Haley’s had much success putting batters away and the confidence it has generated attributes to Haley’s presence on the mound. “I just feel more comfortable on the mound,” he explained. “Not really having to think about mechanics and stuff. Just being able to go out there and compete.”
With his injury in the past, Haley’s future looks good, though he doesn’t think about it too much as he tries to focus on taking things a day at a time to improve.
“Every year when I go into the offseason, I just want to get my body better and get stronger,” he said. “Just come into spring training healthy and try to stay healthy throughout the entire year.”
Aeros’ manager Chris Tremie agrees that Haley’s fastball is a fearsome factor in the pitcher’s weaponry.
“Trey’s a very athletic pitcher,” Tremie said. “Good arm, good fastball, good breaking ball. He’s had limited outings here so far, but what he’s done in those innings that he’s pitched has been pretty exciting.”
The Aeros currently have their sights on the Eastern League playoffs, where they presently hold a 7.5 game lead over the Bowie Baysox. With a championship title up for grabs, Haley’s biggest goal for the remainder of the season is to improve himself in order to improve his team’s chances.
“I just want to stay healthy and finish strong, and just to continue to go out there and just get better every day.”
Getting better every day relies on a customary routine, but Haley can’t reveal his daily habits.
“I do [have one],” he revealed. “But I can’t tell.”
Trey Haley’s routine may be a secret, but his fatal fastball is no hidden gem.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.