When it comes to prospects, people tend to take a reactionary approach, putting too much emphasis on short term performance. If a player gets off to a hot start, people start questioning when he should be promoted. If a player struggles, people start writing him off. That’s true regardless of whether the sample is one week, one month, or even one year. Take Matt Curry for example.
Curry absolutely dominated low-A this year, and was aggressively promoted to the AA level. He started off strong, going 7-for-23 in his first seven games, with a triple and a homer. That got people questioning whether he should make the jump to AAA this season, assuming those numbers continued.
They didn’t continue. Curry went on a cold streak, going 2-for-34 in his next nine games. What’s worse is that he struck out 15 times in those 34 at-bats, drawing just one walk. That gave him two walks and 24 strikeouts on the year, which was a drastic change from his excellent plate patience in the lower levels. I wrote about his struggles a few weeks ago, which caused a few people to temper their enthusiasm about Curry’s great start to the 2011 season.
Curry has since been on a tear. In his last 15 games he’s put up a .357/.394/.500 line, recording hits in 12 of those 15 games. Even better, he has just five strikeouts in 56 at-bats during this stretch, and six walks in 66 plate appearances. That’s a drastic change from his 24:2 K/BB ratio in his previous 16 games.
So what can we take from this? Obviously it’s great to see Curry performing so well right now. There’s a noticeable difference in his plate patience, and his hitting is resembling what we saw in West Virginia. That said, with any prospect, evaluations should constantly be changing. In Curry’s case, what’s the story? Is his recent performance legit? Is it more of a fluke? Does he fall somewhere in between the numbers he saw in his first 16 games, and the numbers he saw in his last 15? Is this just a case of him adjusting to the AA level?
As with any prospect, these questions can only be answered with time. It’s great to see Curry on a hot streak, but we won’t know his story until we see what he can do in a period longer than 15 games.