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Aaron Kurcz is Good


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#1 Brett

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:12 PM

Aaron Kurcz is good, but gets very little love. I wonder why.

I know he was a bit overlooked coming out of school because he played on the same team as some Harper kid, and I know he's mostly "just" a relief prospect. But last year, as a mostly 20-year-old, he struck out 91 in 82.1 innings at High A Daytona. 3.28 ERA, 1.227 WHIP, both good. His 3.7 BB/9 wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad enough to negate the good stuff.

So, anyone? Why doesn't he get the love?

#2 King Jeff

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:16 PM

When was the last time a relief pitcher got love as a top prospect? Relief pitchers are generally considered guys who can't start, for whatever reason, so that automatically means teams have doubts about them. I think that's the reason. Personally, I think he's a pretty good prospect, and would be one that I would hate to see go to Boston.

#3 Crockett

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:44 PM

I think his size (listed at 6'0/175...so you can bet he's a bit smaller) and the fact that he's always been used in relief and doesn't have a third pitch at all are reasons he's not thought of more highly.

Yeah, Cashner was the same deal coming out of college, but Cashner has a prototypical pitcher's build and had more dynamic amateur numbers vs. stiffer competition.

#4 King Jeff

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:22 PM

I think his size (listed at 6'0/175...so you can bet he's a bit smaller) and the fact that he's always been used in relief and doesn't have a third pitch at all are reasons he's not thought of more highly.

Yeah, Cashner was the same deal coming out of college, but Cashner has a prototypical pitcher's build and had more dynamic amateur numbers vs. stiffer competition.

Scouts were also always talking about Cashner stretching into a starter, and he has wicked stuff when healthy.

#5 Crockett

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:29 PM


I think his size (listed at 6'0/175...so you can bet he's a bit smaller) and the fact that he's always been used in relief and doesn't have a third pitch at all are reasons he's not thought of more highly.

Yeah, Cashner was the same deal coming out of college, but Cashner has a prototypical pitcher's build and had more dynamic amateur numbers vs. stiffer competition.

Scouts were also always talking about Cashner stretching into a starter, and he has wicked stuff when healthy.


This was kind of my point with his build...he's physically built to be a starter, whether or not his shoulder can handle it.

#6 Luke

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:23 AM

Depth. The Cubs are so deep guys like Kurcz get lost in the shuffle.

Take that Daytona roster. Can anyone name the Daytona closer last season? All he did was make the All-Star team in a pitching heavy league and nail down a bunch of close games in the playoffs for a team that won the Championship.

Anyone?


Frank Batista. http://www.baseball-...id=batist003fra

And there are plenty more where he came from. If we were White Sox fans, we'd be talking about guys like Kurcz and Batista all the time, because in that barren wasteland of a farm system they'd stand out. In the Cubs system, they tend to get lost in the shuffle.

#7 BFiddy

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:58 AM

And there are plenty more where he came from. If we were White Sox fans, we'd be talking about guys like Kurcz and Batista all the time, because in that barren wasteland of a farm system they'd stand out. In the Cubs system, they tend to get lost in the shuffle.


Yeah, I was greatly encouraged the other day when I had a drink with my WSox-fan friend (there is only one, for obvious reasons). Hearing his barely-contained jealousy at the Cubs' acquisition of Theo and the subsequent moves made by the new Front Office was a nice reminder that things could be a lot worse.

Me: "How is your farm system?"
Him: "Fuck You."
Me: "What? I honestly don't know...I don't pay attention to the AL, but I've heard of Addison Reed."
Him: "Well, you know our entire farm system then."

White Sux!
And that's a bad miss...

#8 Brett

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:54 PM

Depth. The Cubs are so deep guys like Kurcz get lost in the shuffle.

Take that Daytona roster. Can anyone name the Daytona closer last season? All he did was make the All-Star team in a pitching heavy league and nail down a bunch of close games in the playoffs for a team that won the Championship.

Anyone?


Frank Batista. http://www.baseball-...id=batist003fra

And there are plenty more where he came from. If we were White Sox fans, we'd be talking about guys like Kurcz and Batista all the time, because in that barren wasteland of a farm system they'd stand out. In the Cubs system, they tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of Batista - good arm? His results were great last year, but his K and BB rates aren't overly impressive. I know nothing about the kid.

#9 Luke

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:02 PM


Depth. The Cubs are so deep guys like Kurcz get lost in the shuffle.

Take that Daytona roster. Can anyone name the Daytona closer last season? All he did was make the All-Star team in a pitching heavy league and nail down a bunch of close games in the playoffs for a team that won the Championship.

Anyone?


Frank Batista. http://www.baseball-...id=batist003fra

And there are plenty more where he came from. If we were White Sox fans, we'd be talking about guys like Kurcz and Batista all the time, because in that barren wasteland of a farm system they'd stand out. In the Cubs system, they tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of Batista - good arm? His results were great last year, but his K and BB rates aren't overly impressive. I know nothing about the kid.


There were at least two other guys in that bullpen who were thought to have closer or set-up man stuff when they were selected (Kurcz being one of them), and Batista got and held the job. I'm actually not sure what pitches he has (as is typical of the minors, public reports are rare and inconsistent), but the few reports I have seen indicate that, at worst, he is tough to make solid contact against. That would also explain his walk rate, if he is consistently pitching to the edge of the strike zone. A GO/AO of 1.4 indicates a pretty good ground ball pitcher; for now, I'm thinking that's the key to his success.

Press coverage of the Smokies tends to be decent; we should get some better intel on the guy this season.

#10 King Jeff

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:17 PM


Depth. The Cubs are so deep guys like Kurcz get lost in the shuffle.

Take that Daytona roster. Can anyone name the Daytona closer last season? All he did was make the All-Star team in a pitching heavy league and nail down a bunch of close games in the playoffs for a team that won the Championship.

Anyone?


Frank Batista. http://www.baseball-...id=batist003fra

And there are plenty more where he came from. If we were White Sox fans, we'd be talking about guys like Kurcz and Batista all the time, because in that barren wasteland of a farm system they'd stand out. In the Cubs system, they tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of Batista - good arm? His results were great last year, but his K and BB rates aren't overly impressive. I know nothing about the kid.

He's not a really hard thrower, and from what I can tell he throws fastball, change, and a curve. His fastball seems to break away from righties, so it could be a cutter. I was more impressed with some of the other guys with Daytona, but you can't really deny his effectiveness last year.

#11 ced landrum

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:46 PM

I actually like Kurcz quite a bit. I think he is one of if not the best bullpen arms in the system. He should move quickly since he isn't being groomed as a starter. When you look at the fact that he has a good fastball and a hard slider it shouldn't take him long. I could see him fighting for a job next spring training.

#12 Crockett

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:38 PM

I saw Batista twice last year and I'd have to go the 'non-prospect' route. He is right around 90-91 with a tiny build (listed at 5'10" - 170). His secondary pitches looked flat to me. He was pitching at high-A at 22 so he's on schedule as far as development, but he doesn't really have any projection in my mind. I asked Keith Law about him on twitter...we'll see if he responds.

#13 King Jeff

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:43 PM

I saw Batista twice last year and I'd have to go the 'non-prospect' route. He is right around 90-91 with a tiny build (listed at 5'10" - 170). His secondary pitches looked flat to me. He was pitching at high-A at 22 so he's on schedule as far as development, but he doesn't really have any projection in my mind. I asked Keith Law about him on twitter...we'll see if he responds.

I agree, if anything he looks like a starter to me. He does have pinpoint control most of the time, but his fastball seems to have more movement than his curve at times. Crockett, I'm just curious, where did you see him pitch? I saw him once in Daytona, and then when the Cubbies came to Jupiter, I watched everytime they were there.

#14 Crockett

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:11 PM


I saw Batista twice last year and I'd have to go the 'non-prospect' route. He is right around 90-91 with a tiny build (listed at 5'10" - 170). His secondary pitches looked flat to me. He was pitching at high-A at 22 so he's on schedule as far as development, but he doesn't really have any projection in my mind. I asked Keith Law about him on twitter...we'll see if he responds.

I agree, if anything he looks like a starter to me. He does have pinpoint control most of the time, but his fastball seems to have more movement than his curve at times. Crockett, I'm just curious, where did you see him pitch? I saw him once in Daytona, and then when the Cubbies came to Jupiter, I watched everytime they were there.


I saw him twice in Clearwater in April. My grandparents live in Dunnellon and the drive isn't too bad to the Tampa area. He pitched well enough, just no projectibility. I disagree about the starter stuff just because his secondary and tertiary stuff isn't there. Sidenote: I got to see Kurcz, Lorick, Whitenack, and Beliveau in the same series. Was reasonably-to-very impressed with all of them though I realize Lorick is a non-prospect at this point.

#15 subtle

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 04:20 PM

Aaron Kurcz is good, but gets very little love. I wonder why.

I know he was a bit overlooked coming out of school because he played on the same team as some Harper kid, and I know he's mostly "just" a relief prospect. But last year, as a mostly 20-year-old, he struck out 91 in 82.1 innings at High A Daytona. 3.28 ERA, 1.227 WHIP, both good. His 3.7 BB/9 wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad enough to negate the good stuff.

So, anyone? Why doesn't he get the love?


Just a few thoughts:

1. Even at High A, kids are still learning how to hit. A hard-throwing but erratic player can miss a lot of bats just based on poor pitch recognition and lack of baseball skills from the hitters.
2. He's a 6' tall reliever. If people had reservations about Lincecum due to his height, that probably says a lot about what people think about less-proven "short" pitchers.
3. Even if he's a non-prospect, he could eventually pitch in the majors if he can adjust to higher levels of baseball. It doesn't mean Keith Law is going to cover him any time soon.




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