SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- I have a new pitching prospect crush, and his name is Brendan McCurry. He struck out three in a series of increasingly impressive pitches, and his final pitch of the day, his curveball, made me want to marry his repertoire:
What I loved so much about McCurry's performance on Tuesday was that he set up his pitches so well. First, a reminder of what McCurry throws:
Brendan McCurry closes out. 88-91 (T93) w/ tons of effort shifting 3/4-sidearm slots. 67-71 CB, 70-75 SL, 76-81 CH. Heavy wiggle on FB/CH— Chris Kusiolek (@CaliKusiolek) April 16, 2015
Those velocities are consistent with what the scouts around me were calling out and what Pitch F/X had to say, too. His 1.86 ERA with 82 strikeouts between Stockton and Midland last year should give him a ticket to Triple-A Nashville if he doesn't make the big league club out of spring training. McCurry faced five batters today:
Batter #1 vs. Jurickson Profar
McCurry entered the game in the bottom of the second inning with the bases loaded and two out, Mesa trailing 1-0, and Jurickson Profar up to bat. McCurry throws a change up outside! Profar is forced to pull it into the ground and McCurry was out of the jam.
Batter #2 vs. Tyler Austin
Fastball inside corner, slider outside corner, fastball outside, curveball outside, fastball inside that Austin can't catch up to. The speeds on that sequence, from Pitch F/X: 91, 76, 91, 72, 90!
Batter #3 vs. Bubba Starling
Starling seemed to have no idea what to make of McCurry once he threw a first pitch slider down the middle of the plate. McCurry followed with a fastball on the inside edge and missed badly on a 69 mph curveball Pitch F/X says had a 16-inch break.
Batter #4 vs. Aledmys Diaz
McCurry fell behind 2-0 with pitches on the inner half, one high-and-tight and the second too far inside on the bottom edge. He stuck with the fastball all the way through the five-pitch at bat and was punished with a double down the line.
Batter #5 vs. Tyler Wade
Wade was the only left-handed batter McCurry faced. He started off with an 81 mph change up to the outside edge, then 91 mph fastball inner half (check swing foul), 91 mph fastball inside, fastball inside, and that beautiful curveball at 70 that just dropped right into the upper outside corner. Oh my goodness. Here it is again:
Here's the Pitch F/X call:
I think I'm in love.
Renato Nunez and Jeff Urlaub also played today. I uploaded Nunez's first three plate appearances to YouTube (one, two, three), though his fourth was actually his best. After a wild swing-and-a-miss against a first pitch changeup, Nunez stroked a very nice opposite field line drive single to right center. He went 2-for-4 on the day.
Jeff Urlaub had a poor outing with a lot of loud contact allowed, though the defense behind him also takes some of the blame, getting charged with two errors in what turned into a three-run fifth inning for the Surprise Saguaros.
Before the game, the stadium observed a moment of silence for Tommy Hanson, who died at the age of 29. The former Braves and Angels pitcher was the Arizona Fall League's MVP in 2008 and is the only pitcher to have won that award.
Wednesday, the Mesa Solar Sox host the Surprise Saguaros at the Cubs facility at Sloan Park. First pitch is set for 11:35 AM Pacific Time.