Cole McCurry, pitcher
Who is he?
At first glance, based on his Norfolk performance, he’s just another AAA middle relief type. He pitched at age 26 in 2011, and his AAA numbers are completely uninteresting — 40 hits allowed in 39 innings; 4 home runs allowed in 39 innings; a 17-27 BB/K ratio. And based on visual inspection, there was nothing to alter that perception. He had a low-90′s fastball, non-notable breaking stuff, and basically served as a low-leverage relief innings eater.
However, the rest of his minor-league record is more interesting. He was drafted in a late round out of a small school, and didn’t pitch a full season in full-season ball until his third season. He racked up reasonably good ratios as an overage starter in Low-A and as a swingman in High-A, and then pitched brilliantly in AA in 2011 before being promoted. If he could pitch at that level at AAA, he might be a decent middle reliever.
2012 is a crucial season. If he can pitch in AAA the way he did in lower levels, he’s got a chance. If he can’t, he’s a good candidate to be released at some point during the season. Of course, the Orioles may decide that he doesn’t have a future and release him before the 2012 season.