Friday, April 29, 2016

Getting to Know Hooks RHP Brendan McCurry

Mention Brendan McCurry's name to any of his coaches or teammates and you will likely get the same response I did -- a quick grin and a shake of the head. You get the sense that McCurry is just a little bit crazy, but in a good way. In any event, the small-statured Oklahoma native loves nothing more than to prove his doubters wrong, something that he has done since he was drafted by the Athletics in the 22nd round in 2014.

Brendan McCurry - April 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Before interviewing McCurry last weekend in Corpus Christi, I read him this excerpt from the 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook.
Brendan McCurry is the Rodney Dangerfield of minor league relief pitchers. He gets no respect. Pundits seem to think that he's an over-achiever who will fall back to earth from the lofty heights of converting 27 of 28 save opportunities and striking out almost 44% of all the batters he faced in 2015. Fangraphs seems to think he's doomed to fail because of his Mahalanobis distance comps. [Note to Fangraphs: This is why a war still rages between the casual or old school fan and the statheads. Seriously, linking to a Wikipedia page that only a math major could love to explain why McCurry is destined to fail is just rude. Seriously. If you want to convert the casual fan, explain things in English, not High Level Mathematics! Rant over.]
But despite this take from Fangraphs, McCurry has been very successful to date playing in the A's organization prior to his November 2015 trade to the Astros for IF Jed Lowrie. Corpus Christi Hooks Manager Rodney Linares was very familiar with McCurry, pointing out that "he was the guy who beat us last year in the playoffs" when he was on the A's AA Midland RockHounds team. Linares only exaggerates a little when he attributes McCurry's success to the fact that he "throws from like 17 different angles, throws like 30 different pitches."

Hooks Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski calls McCurry "very creative" citing his ability to show hitters a lot of different looks by throwing several pitches from varying arm angles. "It's really hard for [hitters] to pick up. It's a lot of fun to watch," said Borkowski. Borkowski also noted that McCurry "competes like crazy" with a bulldog mentality.

Here's what McCurry had to say about his expansive pitch repertoire, advanced metrics and his favorite way to unwind at the end of the day.

The final thing I wrote about McCurry in my book was this ...
As to McCurry's prospects for success, I'll just say that the Astros statheads probably knew what they were doing when they looked at obtaining him. It is my sincere hope that he continues with his excellent results and that he makes those Mahalanobis distance comps look as silly as he does those hitters.

Thank you for your time, Brendan, and best of luck as the season unfolds.

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