PP 2004 Scouting Report: RP, Rik Currier

RP, Rik Currier

The New York Yankees selected right handed pitcher Rik Currier in the 6th round (185th overall) of the 2001 amateur draft out of the University of Southern California. At USC, Currier played along side star Cubs pitcher Mark Prior and at that time scouts believed that Currier had comparable skills to those of Prior. The Yankees saw the chance and they jumped all over the opportunity.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Rik Currier
Position: Pitcher
DOB: May 26, 1978
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Aliso Viejo, California
How Acquired: The New York Yankees selected right handed pitcher Rik Currier in the 6th round (185th overall) of the 2001 draft.

The Yankees drafted the young pitcher in hopes that he would be what the scouts claimed that he could be and that he would blossom into a star within their farm system. Rik Currier could not have put together a better college career than he did in his time with the USC Trojans while pitching for a very good team. Currier was a standout on the pitching staff for the Trojans even in his first season on the team. As a freshman in 1998, Currier earned Freshman All-America first team honors from Collegiate Baseball. That season, he went 6-1 with a 5.30 ERA to go along with 100 strikeouts in only 71 1/3 innings pitched. This gave Currier an average 12.62 strikeouts per 9 innings and this was a statistic that was good for second in the nation.

After getting pinned with sky high expectations for the upcoming 1999 season as a result of his tremendous freshman performance in '98, Currier had a season full of struggles. He only managed to go 5-7 with a lofty 6.38 ERA. However, he still ended up averaging over 10 strike outs per 9 innings. The next season, Currier was hoping to put together, obviously, a much better season. On April 7th of 2000, Currier was given a good break when number one pitcher Mark Prior went down with the flu and Currier had to take over as the ace of the staff. Currier was more than up for the challenge. He put up an outstanding season, going 15-3 with an excellent 3.31 ERA. Along with that he struck out 141 batters in only 125.0 innings pitched while also walking 56. As a result of his brilliant season, Currier was named Pac-10 Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year. It was this season, where he and Prior began to be considered as a tandem of dominant pitchers that teams dreaded to face.

As good as he was in the 2000 season, Currier was just as dominating throughout the 2001 campaign at USC. He had an outstanding year, going 12-3 with an impressive 2.59 ERA. Also, he struck out another incredible total of 120 batters in only 118 innings pitched.

Since they were so impressed with his amazing college career, the New York Yankees drafted Currier in the 6th round of the 2001 draft. He was then assigned to play for the Yankees low A affiliate in Staten Island for the remainder of the 2001 season. In Staten Island, Currier had a decent start to his minor league career, going 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA. He pitched 31 innings strictly out of the starting the rotation and in those innings he struck out 27 batters along with 13 base on balls. Late in the 2001 season, it was decided that Currier would be promoted to middle A Greensboro, but in his time with the club he didn't fair quite as well as he might have wished. He went 0-4 in 6 starts while compiled a 4.50 ERA in 32 innings pitched.

After going through an up and down 2001 season, Currier looked to have a solid full season for Greensboro in 2002. However, Currier had a change of roles in 2002 and was informed that he would now be reliever rather than a starter. It was a fairly big change for Currier who hadn't been a full time reliever since his first half year at USC, but he did adjust well. He went 3-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 39 innings pitched while also racking up an outstanding 41 strikeouts. Since he was so successful in 2002 as a reliever he was kept in that role for the 2003 season and was promoted to the Yankees high A affiliate in Tampa. It was in Tampa where Currier enjoyed the greatest success of his short Yankees career. He went 4-3 with an amazing 1.95 ERA in 73.2 innings pitched. Currier also compiled a total of 86 strikeouts as well. As a result of his impressive performance with Tampa, he was promoted yet again, and this time it was all the way up to AA Trenton. In Trenton, the 25 year old right hander, did not miss a beat, going 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA over a span of 34.2 innings pitched.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2003

Trenton

1-1

0

34.2

22

15

33

2.60

2003

Tampa

4-3

1

73.2

52

30

86

1.95

2002

Greensboro

3-4

2

39

41

24

41

3.92

2001

Staten Island

2-2

0

31

37

13

27

3.77

2001

Greensboro

0-4

0

32

32

17

25

4.50


*Stats as of 9/7/03

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Rik Currier benefits from a very good power fastball that allows him to be a dominating pitcher when he mixes it in with excellent breaking pitches. His fastball ranges from the mid to low 90's. Currier has excellent control of his fastball and can hit his spots with it extremely well.

Other Pitches. Currier is blessed with excellent breaking pitches to compliment his power fastball. His best off-speed pitch would be his devastating slider. He uses the slider as one of his primary strikeout pitchers and it is very tough on right-handed hitters. Currier has a decent curveball along with an adequate changeup that he uses a little more sparingly.

Pitching. Has developed into an excellent reliever since being converted from the starting role back in 2002 and has really flourished. Currier mixes his pitches in his deep repertoire very well and is an intelligent pitcher on the mound. He can completely dominate a hitter with good breaking and off speed pitches. He sometimes struggles with his control, which is noticeable in his 15 walks last year with Trenton in only 34 innings pitched.

Projection. It seems that Currier could someday make an excellent setup reliever for a major league team if he continues to improve the way he has over the last couple of season. However, it is not likely that he will ever be the dominant starting pitcher on the Major League level that his former USC fellow staff member Mark Prior has become.

ETA. Late 2005. Currier will probably be starting the season in Trenton this year, but if he performs as well as he has been in the past couple of seasons he will probably be looking at a promotion to Columbus late in the 2004 season. Then he will almost certainly start the 2005 season with Columbus and if there are no setbacks of any sort, Currier could be ready to make the leap to the Bronx in late 2005.

Relief Pitchers

2003 Team

Scott Proctor

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Sam Marsonek

AAA - Columbus Clippers

David Shepard

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Adam Roller AA - Trenton Thunder
Rik Currier AA - Trenton Thunder
Charlies Isaacson AA - Trenton Thunder
Francisco Villegas AA - Trenton Thunder
Matt Brumit A - Battle Creek Yankees
Jason Stephens R - Gulf Coast Yankees
Tyler Clippard R - Gulf Coast Yankees


COMMENTS


As of right now, it seems that the Yankee organization is much more interested in instant satisfaction especially when it comes to their bullpen in which they have spent top dollar to improve upon this past winter. Rather than try to develop the next Mariano Rivera, (the only Yankee reliever that came from the farm system) they have consistently gone out and have benefited from the free agent, trade and foreign markets. However, with older and more fragile pitchers in the pen, the Yankees may be looking for their young guns in the farm system to step up and play major roles in the next few years.

1. Scott Proctor- Had an impressive minor league career in the Dodger organization and didn't miss a beat after he was acquired by the Yankees. He possesses a 100 mile per hour fastball and has tremendous strikeout potential as he proved in his 2003 stats. In his time with Columbus in 2003, Proctor posted a 1.42 and struck out an incredible 26 batters in only 19 IP (just with Yankees). Has electric stuff and could be a very good big league reliever in the near future.

2. Sam Marsonek- Marsonek took over the full time closers job in Columbus last year and did an adequate job by racking up a total of 18 saves and posting a 4.84 ERA. He struggled at some points with control and consistency but certainly has a lot of potential.

3. David Shepard- It may be getting a little late for David Shepard, considering the fact that is already 30 years old and 2003 was his first good season in the Yankee organization. However, don't give up on him quite yet, he could still be an effective reliever in the majors if he continues to pitch well in the minors.

4. Adam Roller- The 25 year old righty has collected 47 minor league saves in his 7 seasons in the minor leagues. In his best season in 2001, he compiled 23 saves while posting a 1.20 ERA. He may be sleeper in the organization and could be a guy to watch in the very near future.

5. Rik Currier- Since his college years, the Yankee organization has more or less converted him to a full time reliever. He has a deep repertoire for a reliever which also adds to his effectiveness. In college he was #2 in the USC rotation to star Cubs pitcher Mark Prior and at the time scouts considered that his skills were comparable to Prior's. Their paths ended up being very different but there is no doubt that Currier certainly has all the potential in the world.

6. Charlie Isaacson- Has shown himself to be a very solid and consistent relief pitcher at a every level that he has pitched on, which includes pitching in Battle Creek, Tampa, and Trenton all in the same season. He may have a very nice future ahead of him as a major league pitcher if all continues as it has been in his career.

7. Francisco Villegas- he is a very good strikeout pitcher that has pitched as a setup man throughout his minor league career. Despite this, scouts believe that he could also make a very solid closer with the excellent fastball that he has.

8. Matt Brumit- Brumit has become the full time closer at every level he has played at in the organization and has done a fantastic job at it. In his 2 seasons in the organization he has compiled an outstanding total of 46 saves.

9. Jason Stephens- Had a rough go of it in his first year n the organization, posting a 4.55 ERA and going 0-2. On the other hand, he is still thought of as one of the top relief pitching prospects in the organization.

10. Tyler Clippard- Was the Yankees 9th round pick in the 2003 Draft. He had a very solid season in the Gulf Coast, compiling an impressive 2.89 ERA with an outstanding 56 strikeouts in only 43.2 IP while only walking 5. Clippard thrived as a relief pitcher and impressed many, but despite his endless potential he still needs a lot of work before he is a major league ready.

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