Friday, September 5, 2014

The Brendan McCurry Novelty

The breakthrough sensation of the 2014 Oakland draft class thus far, Brendan McCurry has shot forth from anonymous 22nd round selection to the cusp of Midland with an absurd amount of deception and vicious offspeed movement. Restrained from the upper reaches of the draft comparatively based upon age, lackluster fastball velocity and an extraordinary uncommon novelty of dueling arm slots, McCurry has fittingly silenced initial skepticism buzzing around him prior to ascending towards the Texas League after abusing Midwest League offenses en route to a pair of successful Stockton appearances for the Sooner (Or rather Oklahoma State Cowboy). Additionally wielding a grasp of a decent changeup with major league average projection, McCurry could potentially be destined for a rapid major league shuttle with pitch movement unparalleled within the Oakland system. While still doubtful as the organization shall likely have the righty commence within Stockton to open 2015 even should he obliterate spring opposition due to Midland bullpen overcapacity and brass will respectfully opt to witness McCurry's progress in a more gradual format, he still possesses the potentially to barrel through the affiliates with his quirky and devastating repetiore. Mixing traits of Tucker Healy and Heath Fillmyer with consistent repetition of combative and vastly seperate low 3/4th and over the top arm slots, McCurry places a firm bid to barge through prior to the 2015 campaign as Oakland's undisputed and quintessential pure relief prospect. 

Including the postseason, McCurry's exquisite statistical romp produced a 31 IP, 16 H, 1 R (1 HR), 3 BB, 40 K result with a mere three XBH permitted coupled with a GB/FB ratio north of 3.50 as the righty excessively and consistently induced weak contact alongside a definitive control of the strike zone while occasionally demonstrating command as well. Winding up more effective versus righties, McCurry punched out 31 of the 64 RHB he's grappled with professionally thus far with like-handed opposition going 9-59 with.1 XBH (2B) as opposed to LHB with a 6:1 K/BB through 37 encounters with southpaws. While still generating outstanding movement and therefore able to tread water versus lefties in the Midwest League with his sidearm approach far more potent against righties, McCurry may have to be restricted specifically towards ROOGY status should the strikeout percentages not increase as he ascends and takes on more fearsome bats that shall be able to recognize and decode McCurry more effectively. Still, his performance as a 22 year old has been spectacular with two potential plus offerings in that of his curve and slider which correspond with his specific arm slot being utilized. McCurry technically boasts nine pitches if you count offerings utilized with different slots with a split finger, fourseam, twoseam, changeup, slider and curveball while merely opting for his FB, CH and SL with the sidearm approach. His fastball, primarily 87-90 MPH while occasionally touching 91, showcases more velocity when opting for his higher arm slot and is unanimously the least reliable of his four offerings despite demonstrating late life and snap on it. Having to entirely be predicated upon deception, repetition, and command with a significantly minuscule frame, it's easy to recognize how McCurry slid dramatically during this past June as establishing his fastball versus Texas and Pacific Coast League competition may not necessarily bode well. There are specific, albeit extremely seldom seen, examples of inferior fastballs versus a more tangible caliber of competition such as Paul Smyth with Sacramento, a slider specialist having to entirely rely upon his 80-82 MPH predominant secondary with a well subpar 88-89 MPH fastball bolstered through deception who starred as one of Sacramento's more dependable 2014 bullpen assets with a 56:14 K/BB through 59 frames desipite 9 HR permitted. Usually elevating his arsenal, Smyth was ripe for dingers while McCurry pertains to blatantly superior movement and strike zone placement with rivaling deception and command to that of the Kitty Cats' PCL All-Star Game representative in something that presents some optimism for the elderly draftee and former middle infielder who more recently had begun to commit entirely to the mound. Considering McCurry also wields numerous fastball variations to keep bats honest even upon incessantly scouring his reports, the Oklahoma State alumni ought to have an opportunity to overcome his velocity shortcomings.

What is there to make of a 5'10" righty who shifts arm slot on purpose to capitalize and maximize upon matchup and deception while garnering 40 4SFB (45), 45 (50) 2SFB, 45 CH (50), 55 SL (65) and 55 CB (65) grades? Most likely a relief and situational specialist as a realistic major league probable outcome with the ceiling of an All-Star late inning asset. McCurry's outstanding statistical output shall be extraordinary difficult to duplicate heading onward however especially versus advanced offenses, as expectations must be tempered for the Stillwater native and roadbumps shall undoubtedly be encountered and addressed as a natural portion of McCurry's developmental path. Still boasting some of the best movement and arguably a slider to contend with Dillon Overton and Bobby Wahl for the best throughout the A's system, McCurry is still assuredly an intriguing bullpen project to monitor as he steadily climbs upwards towards Oakland. 

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