Thursday, July 31, 2008

Meet Chris Curran

Chris Curran, the Nationals 22nd round pick of 2008, graciously agreed to answer 20 questions for DCSportsPlus. Thanks a lot to Colin, a friend of Chris who passed the questions along.

Before I post the questions and answers, here is a little background on Chris:

From Colin's comments on NFA: "You guys don’t know how good Curran will be. 25/25 in steals is just the beginning. Originally from Massachusetts, he’s going to need a couple/few years to adjust to 2B (I’ve played with him since I was 8, now 21, and he’s never played the infield), but he’s so athletic that he will stick. I truly believe that once he gets the position down, he’ll be flying through the system....Maybe he played a couple/few games [at 2B] in a screwaround league, but in high school, as well as legion and into college, he was the CF. Athletic as all hell, he’ll adjust, I’m almost sure of it....[It's] tough to compare him to anyone in the MLB for the mere fact that he’s never played 2B, and I’ve never seen him play it. If I honestly had to compare him to anyone, offensively, [Red Sox OF Jacoby] Ellsbury probably. A bit of pop, good contact tremendous speed, and good OF defense."

It looks as of now that the Nationals have abandoned their plan to put Curran at second base, as he has played 32 of his 33 games in center field (and the other as the designated hitter). In those 33 games, Curran is hitting .331/.420/.379 with 3 2B, 1 HR, 12/14 SB, 32 R and 14 RBI. His 17 BB/19 K ratio is impressive as well.

Now, without further ado, the 20 questions:

1) What was your first thought when the Nationals asked you to switch from CF to 2B? Do you think there is a chance you’ll still end up back in the outfield?

I was a bit shocked when I found out. I thought it would hold me back from possibly climbing to the next level/team since I havent played there, but I'm an athlete, I'll pitch if they need me to! I thought that if they would give me a chance in the outifeld, they would put me there...and they did!

2) All signs are pointing to you as a top-of-the-lineup hitter, with great contact skills, a great eye and tremendous speed. What is the one thing about your batting approach or baserunning game that you would like to improve upon to make yourself an even better top-of-the-lineup hitter?

I think that mastering the bunting game is what I need to work on most. I have drawn plenty of walks, a couple hit-by-pitches, and a few infield base hits.

3) 8 years ago, the Expos drafted some outfielder out of Gonzaga University in the 22nd round. That outfielder’s name is Jason Bay. Is it comforting knowing that one of the game’s stars was in your position only 8 years ago?

Yes it is, because for the most part when you draft someone in the later rounds you don't expect too much from them. It becomes a price tag game, the players with the most money actually get more oppertunities. Luckily, my managers and coaches don't treat me as a late pick if a pick at all. They seem pretty fair and I have actually played every game.

4) Did you get drafted earlier, later or around where you figured you’d get drafted in 2008?

Later. A Cardinals scout told me 7th to 8th round. Now when a scout tells you a round you usually want to add 2-4 rounds to that.

5) How disappointed were you when you didn’t get drafted out of high school?

I was highly disappointed, but after my first year of college I realized I wasnt ready out of high school.

6) A Boston Globe article said you were a dishwasher for a restaurant to help pay for school. Did working in a humbling environment change your work ethic or perspective any?

I wouldn't say it CHANGED me or the way I work really because I feel I have always worked my hardest whether it be baseball, work, or anything I really wish to accomplish.

7) The same Globe article mentioned your mother’s dedication to watching you play. When she’s at your games, does it make you relax or does it put more pressure on you?

It helps me relax. My mother knows how good I am and how hard I work, so I dont feel pressured at any point with her watching.

8) What are your favorite professional sports teams or athletes?

Favorite Baseball Team: Washington Nationals
Favorite Athlete: Bryan Curran (Brother)

9) Do you have any routines before starts (such as eating the same food before every game or painting your nails like Dmitri Young)?

Nothing too much. The simple baseball reminders: telling myself that I am the best one on the field, I've worked the hardest, the smartest, the fastest-things to help me stay positive and keep my confidence. I remind myself of where I'm from and everything I've been through.

10) If you could face any one pitcher in their prime (past or present), who would it be?

Nobody that I can think of at this time.

11) Fill in the blank: Without _______, I would not be a baseball player.

Family

12) If you weren’t a professional athlete, what would you likely be doing right now?

Making music as a recording artist. Rap and Hip Hop.

13) How close do you follow the Nationals franchise? Do you read blogs or look up stats and standings every day or just rely on SportsCenter or newspapers for your information?

Honestly, I don't pay too much attention to SportsCenter, the newspapers, or even read anything on the internet. I dont even know my own batting average! I'm not the one to follow stats, I just play the game one at-bat at a time, one inning at a time, one game at a time. I'll let the scorekeeper and the people who handle the numbers handle them.

14) What did you do with your signing bonus?

Nothing as of yet, I haven't received it yet.

15) Is there a past or present Major League player you think you compare similarly to? If you want, you could also compare individual skills (such as Jose Reyes' speed, Nick Johnson's eye, etc.).

A lot of people have told me I remind them of Juan Pierre.

16) All of the scouting reports on you mentioned a decent bit of power. You only have 2 extra base hits so far in the GCL. Is it because you’re still getting used to hitting with a wooden bat (and the power will come eventually), or are you just trying to get singles and then stealing bases to get into scoring position?

One of the things they (meaning the managers) want me to work on is hitting line drives and hard ground balls. The game has changed a bit as you progress, so yes I am adjusting to the play and the use of wood, but having only 2 extra base hits means nothing. Base runners could be in front of me, where and how they pitch me. Many things come into factor.

17) I know you haven’t spent too much time in the Nats system yet, but who are your best buddies so far? Which Nationals coaches have helped you the most in terms of your development?

I love the people here. I cant really name any individuals because people will be upset I didn't name them. I get along with everyone and all the coaches have helped me in one way or another. whether its base stealing, working the count, strike zone recogntion or bunting.

18) There always seems to be a shortage of good middle infielders. Do you think that moving to second base is the best chance for you to get to the majors, or do you think it would have been in CF?

Personally I feel my best chance is in CF. I feel comfortable there and know how it needs to be played, but if they move me back to IF well have to see what happens.

19) Fill in the blank: Chris Curran will be batting ___ in the lineup, playing ___ for the Nationals in 20__?

I wish I could answer that (laughs) but unfortunately no matter how good or bad I play, it's not up to me to say where and when. It'll take some time, I'll tell you that much. I'm still learning alot

20) In a different Boston Globe article online, there’s a small picture of you with a nice little moustache. Please tell me you are still rockin’ the ‘stache!

(Laughs) No, I am not. I've always had different hair styles, facial hair and I kept people guessing. But at the time a clean shave is what I'm working with.


Chris celebrated answering my questions by going 4-5 with 2 runs, 3 RBI, 1 SB and his first career professional HR last night. Congrats, Chris!

One thing I wish I had seen before, from the comments section of NFA (by Nate of Nats Triple Play): "Chris Curran was 5th runner up at the 2000 Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee and has a lovely baritone singing voice."

Is this true, Colin?

If you want to ask Chris any more questions, leave them in the comments and Colin can probably pass them along to Chris and back to me to post again here.

For additional reading material on Chris, check these articles out (all from the Boston Globe):
Draft puts Curran in Tricky Position
Sibling Rivalry Propels Curran
Boston Globe Baseball All-Scholastics (scroll down some and check out the moustache)
Chris Curran on Baseball-Reference.com

And once again, thank you Chris and Colin!

7 comments:

  1. Cool post. It's almost like you did some actual work, like as a reporter and stuff. Not fair!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha, not really. Colin was posting on NFA on draft day and I figured I'd ask to see if it were possible if Chris could answer some questions. I friended Jack McGeary and Adrian Alaniz on Facebook and messaged them similar lists of 20 questions, but neither has responded. And Jordan Zimmermann never accepted my friend request.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So--Felipe is gone and stupid Lo Duca. Will things get better? And I read over on kg's blog that you're a CUBBIES fan? No way! How could Mr. Fairway and his lovely Bride, brn, every look you in the eye again? Brew Crew all the way, baby! Hey--did you ever try dropping Mentos in diet coke? Check out the video I posted today. I think I'll make it part of my curriculum!

    ReplyDelete
  4. BTW, don't forget today's Silly Sunday Sweepstakes!! I've got a SWEET snap for you to caption!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks so much for sharing the Caption Love! BTW: I'm caving in to the commercial pressure and hosting a giveaway/contest starting tomorrow. I just returned from Asbury Park NJ, home to Jersey roots rock, aka Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Van Zandt, etc. I've got a couple of cool prizes to give away to celebrate the Dog Days of Summer, so tune please tune in!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice clutch job by Curran in Hagerstown last night.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave your questions and/or comments here and I'll get back to you ASAP!