Astros Farmhand Dedicated To Duke Baseball

Ryan McCurdy

Some of you will recall the column I wrote for The Pecan Park Eagle earlier this past summer, shortly after the Houston Astros signed a young catcher out of Duke University named Ryan McCurdy.

McCurdy left college play after his 2010 graduation with a record for athletic/academic excellence and a reputation for great playing dexterity and defensive accomplishment.  In four seasons as a starter at Duke, McCurdy  excelled at three positions.He started at second base man during his freshman season, then moved over to third base for his sophomore and junior years. Then, as a senior, McCurdy picked up the so-called “tools of ignorance” for the first time to play catcher for the very first time in his young life s an organized baseball player.

As a catcher, all McCurdy did was play error-free ball while throwing out 19 runners attempting to steal. These results made sense. During his four complete seasons at Duke, McCurdy committed only 19 errors in 865 career chances for a defensive success percentage of .978. All 19 of McCurdy’s errors occurred during his freshman and sophomore years. He made no errors in the field as a full-time starter again during his junior and senior seasons.

What else, you ask? The guy was tough for the hard-throwing “K” boys, striking out only 44 times in 820 college career plate appearances. He als posted a career on base percentage (OBP) of .397 and set a Duke and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) career record for HBP (hit by the pitcher) first base reaches with 69. As a throw in on his brains credit, McCurdy earned All-ACC Academic Baseball Team honors twice and also made the ACC Academic Honor Roll three times.

After signing with the Astros, the Tampa, Florida native McCurdy played in only 20 games at the Rookie League and Class A levels, going 4 for 37 and .148 batting average in a handful of break-in season times at bat. The real test at the professional level for young Ryan McCurdy lays ahead of him. The book on his intelligence, character, and dedication to Duke University baseball is already in.

During this off-season, McCurdy has agreed to serve as a volunteer member of the coaching staff at Duke until its time to leaving for his own 2011 spring training obligations to the Houston Astros farm system.

Even if we didn’t share the same last name, I’m pulling for Ryan McCurdy to make it all the way to the starting job as catcher for the Houston Astros someday. Traits like character and intelligence don’t necessarily have to accompany athletic ability for a young guy to make it to the majors, but it sure doesn’t hurt to find them in the field general position of catcher, especially. The great Brad Ausmus and young Jason Castro of our current Astros roster are both good examples of those types as well. Come on, Ryan McCurdy, let’s get it going. There’s room in Houston for both you and Mr. Castro.

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