Lance McCullers Jr. has potential as a power bat, but his fastball has reached close to triple digits and he has a nasty breaking ball. He could develop into a big time pitching talent and that’s why he was drafted by the Houston Astros. The Florida commit struck out 79 in 52 innings last year while hitting .422 with seven homers and 24 RBIs.
McCullers was actually named the Gatorade Boys’ Baseball Player of the Year, but I was unable to interview him. Why? He was at Houston Astros summer camp.
“This is something I’ve wanted to win for so long,” said McCullers, 18, the oldest son of former major league right-hander Lance Sr. “I watched online last year when [Baltimore Orioles No. 1 prospect] Dylan Bundy won it. It’s mind-blowing really to be on a list with the guys who’ve won this. You’re talking about people I look up to and model my game after. Especially a guy like Greinke, a smaller-stature pitcher who I’m sure went through some of the things I’m going through. I’m just so blessed and so grateful for this honor.”
McCullers impressed others, because he was able to overcome so much hype and scouts watching his every move to deliver a big-time season. You get the sense that he is the type of player who plays better when the lights are on.
“Lance McCullers came into the season with a ton of hype and had scouts watching his every move,” said Jon Mahoney, ESPNHS baseball editor. “You’d expect him to have a rough start here and there. But he goes out and delivers a phenomenal campaign. Two earned runs all season? That’s just filthy, especially against the competition his team faced. Simply put, McCullers rose to the occasion in the face of incredible pressure. He’s a worthy choice for Gatorade National Player of the Year.”
McCullers played a bit of minor league baseball and struggled a bit last Fall. He needs to continue to develop his fast ball and breaking pitches in order to advance in the minor league levels. He has his improvements to make, but he has the skills to be a big time starter in the major leagues one day.