Curran pursues dreams on the diamond

2/2/2017 | Chris Maza

Category: February 2017

Seamus Curran drives the ball during a game with the Gulf Coast League Orioles in Sarasota, FL.
Photo courtesy of Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Photography

Since signing a professional baseball contract as a teenager, a lot has changed for Agawam native Seamus Curran.

First and foremost, Seamus Curran has changed.

“I was 17 and I was just like any other 17-year-old would be. The guys in the locker room are 22, 23 years old,” Curran, now 19, recalled of the first time he walked into a locker room after being drafted in the seventh round by the Baltimore Orioles. “I had to grow up really fast.”

Now approaching his third season with the Orioles organization, the 253rd overall selection in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft said he learned a lot in those early months in Sarasota, FL, with the major league club’s Gulf Coast League affiliate.

"Starting to treat baseball like a job was probably one of the biggest wake up calls,” he said. “It’s not just a game anymore; it’s your job and you have to take it seriously. Being a young kid, I had to grow up pretty fast. In Spring Training, I was an 18-year-old and I had to buckle down. As an 18-year-old, you have to mature really fast and play older than you actually are.”

Along the way, he’s received plenty of help, starting with the team’s Director of Player Development Brian Graham.

“Brian Graham was a big in helping me grow. We had multiple talks about things like how to carry yourself and how to be a professional,” Curran said.

Beyond that, he said, some of the harshest lessons, which turned out to be some of the most valuable, came during his baptism by fire as a teenager in a professional locker room.

“You’re at the bottom of the totem pole as a young kid. You’re going to take some shots from older guys and you learn from them,” Curran said. “It’s kind of like being a freshman on a varsity team. You’re going to have older guys that help lead the way and I just picked up a lot of little things from a bunch of people.”

Curran also credited the Orioles organization for providing a staff that encourages growth and also noted he got a little help from outside of the organization as well.

“I had some really good coaches the past two years and I had a lot of people back home who helped me a lot,” he said. “You take a little bit of information from everyone.”

Curran spent his entire time during his first season in the Gulf Coast League, the introductory level of minor league baseball for many young players, and batted .232 with 18 RBI with an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .650 in 40 games. He launched his first professional home run – and his only on the season – on Aug. 4.

In 2016, he started rounding into form. In 43 games in the Gulf Coast League, he lifted five homers over the wall and drove in 30 runs while batting .283 with an OPS of .839.  That August was the best month of his professional career. All five of his home runs and 14 of his RBI came in that 18-game span in which he boasted a .308 batting average an impressive 1.015 OPS. He also had a pair of brief stints with the Aberdeen IronBirds, the Orioles’ short-season Single-A affiliate.

“I’d say I’m driving the ball more consistently now and not just slapping at the ball,” Curran said. “I always had the strength for power, but now I’m starting to tap into it. The last month I really tapped into that power a little bit.”

While steadily improving his offensive prowess, the left-handed hitting first baseman said he also felt he made strides as a defender, namely in his throwing ability, something he attributed to his offseason focus.

“My arm’s gotten a lot better and that’s just from throwing every day,” he said. “In high school I would play hockey in the winter and didn’t do much throwing, but now I’m focusing just on baseball and I’m seeing the results from that.”

As Spring Training approaches in March, Curran explained his first priority this offseason has been preparing his most important piece of equipment – himself. As he moves up the ranks of the minor leagues, he’ll be expected to play far more than he has in the past with the 60-game Gulf Coast League schedule. To be ready, he said he’s been concentrating on building more lean muscle and reducing his body fat percentages.

“I think the biggest thing for me is making sure my body can last 140, 150 games,” he said. “Durability throughout the season is something I’ve really been working on. Having a clean body and being strong are a big part of that.”

When camp breaks after the month-long Spring Training, Curran would most likely be assigned to Aberdeen or the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Orioles’ Class A team. He said he doesn’t know where he’ll end up, only that he’s going to trust the process.

“I’m still young, I’m still learning the ropes and still trying to find out who I am as a baseball player and what I am as a hitter. It’s very early in my career,” he said.

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