|Born: July 27, 1988
Height: 6′ 1″
Drafted: 16th Round, 477th Overall, 2010
How Acquired: Draft
College: Texas Christian University
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|The Pirates previously drafted Curry in the 37th round in 2008, after he hit 60 doubles and 30 HRs in two years of JC ball at Howard College in Texas. He went on Texas Christian and had a major power spike in his second year there, after a mediocre junior season. He also drew a boatload of walks. He’s a patient hitter who works the count and looks for pitches to drive. He’s not good defensively and doesn’t run well, so his bat will have to carry him.
Signed shortly after finishing play in the College World Series and took over at first for State College. He got off to a blazing start, with an OPS of 1.004 in July, but tailed off after that. He drew a lot of walks, but he also fanned in a quarter of his ABs. For some reason, Curry attempted to steal a lot although he isn’t fast and didn’t have a good SB percentage. He hit LHPs a little better than RHPs.
The Pirates sent Curry to West Virginia because Aaron Baker was slated for Bradenton and they wanted both to play first every day, to work on their defensive skills. Curry was obviously too advanced for the SAL and posted a 1.148 OPS, with more walks than Ks. With Baker slumping at that point, the team moved Curry up to AA. He figured to struggle initially, but as a college draftee whose entire game is his bat, he should have been able to adjust eventually. As it turned out, Curry struggled in June (.657 OPS), started hitting well in July (.847), but then collapsed the rest of the way (.594 in August, .405 in September). He maintained a decent walk rate and continued to try to work the count, but he struggled to make contact, fanning in nearly a third of his ABs. In August and September his K rate rose to 38%. He also didn’t show the power he’ll need, as a player who’s limited to first, with just six HRs in 87 games.
Curry had a solid season for Altoona, but never managed to stay hot for any extended period. He didn’t hit his first HR until May and had only 11 for the year. Since he played half the season at age 24, it can’t be assumed some of his doubles will turn into HRs, so it’s not clear he’ll have the power needed for a player who’s limited to first. He had a large home/road split, posting a .953 OPS at home and .706 on the road, despite the fact that Altoona plays in a pitcher’s park. He had a moderate platoon split, hitting 282/328/419 against LHPs and 287/362/505 against RHPs. His plate discipline continued to be weaker than it had been in low A. He tries to pull the ball most of the time, which leaves him vulnerable to breaking balls. The Pirates moved Curry up to AAA at the end of the season.
The 2013 season was a difficult one for Curry. He originally appeared to be headed to AAA, but the Pirates signed a number of veteran minor league corner players in the off-season and Curry went back to AA. He had a mediocre April with remarkably bad plate discipline, then went out in early May for hamate surgery. He made several rehab appearances in the GCL, the last one in early July, but must have aggravated the injury because he didn’t play anywhere after that. When he did play in AA, it was mostly at first. With Alex Dickerson and Andrew Lambo both at Altoona, though, the Pirates played Curry a little in left, which is not a place he should be much.
Curry was eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but wasn’t added to the roster or selected. He wasn’t assigned anywhere until early May, when he went to Altoona. He played semi-regularly for the next two months, mostly as DH but some at first and in left. He moved up to Indianapolis to fill in for a brief spell in July, then missed most of a month with injuries before returning to AA late in the year. Curry didn’t hit well at any point, seeing his K rate increase and struggling severely with LHPs, posting just a .410 OPS against them.
With another two years before minor league free agency, Curry has no obvious place in the organization other than filling in as needed in AA and AAA. If they don’t lose him in the Rule 5 draft, the Pirates should have Stetson Allie in AAA, Jose Osuna should be moving up to AA, and the team has said it will move Josh Bell to first. They also still have Chris McGuiness, at least for the time being, and generally sign at least one minor league free agent corner player. Curry may have trouble finding a spot, especially in AAA.