If you're talking about all the young arms the Orioles organization has stockpiled in recent years, odds are it takes you awhile to get to Nick McCurdy. Drafted out of Oklahoma State University in the 35th round of the 2002 amateur draft, McCurdy took until this past season to make it to Triple-A. Nevertheless, he has worked hard to become a viable candidate for the 2007 roster.
DOB: 01/24/80 Height: 6-3 Weight: 185 B/T: R/R
Nick McCurdy‘s age 26 season::
McCurdy followed up on a solid minor league season with a nice showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he struck out 14 and walked 3 in 17 innings en route to a 4.08 ERA. His low home run rate at Bowie is evidence of his ability to keep the ball on the ground (2.57 GO/AO between Bowie and Ottawa). McCurdy works with an average fastball that tops out at 92 MPH, but it gets good sinking movement and he rarely misses up in the strike zone. He is also adept at taking a few MPH off his fastball and then reaching back when it counts, allowing him to set up opposing hitters. McCurdy also offers a curveball, which projects as a solid second offering.
Like many upper level relievers in the Orioles organization, McCurdy's path to the majors has been made that much more difficult by the recent high-profile additions to the Orioles' bullpen. The drop in his strikeout rate when he was promoted to Ottawa indicates that a second helping of the International League could certainly be beneficial. McCurdy should have little problem there and will be ready in case injuries hit the big league pen.
Nick McCurdy will have to hope that his opportunities come sooner and more frequently than the big league pitcher he most resembles- Todd Williams- who had to prove himself repeatedly in Triple-A before securing a role with the Orioles.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com