Archive Writings: Will Lance McCullers Pitch for the Houston Astros Next Year?

Alex GiobbiAnalyst IDecember 11, 2011

I wrote this article a long time ago, and I think it will help shed some light on the MLB draft, especially high school talent.

In 2012, one team will draft Lance McCullers Jr. in the first round of the draft. McCullers is the son of former reliever Lance Sr., who pitched seven years in the majors most notably for the Padres and Yankees. While Lance Jr. won't find himself in pinstripes or camouflage next year, hopefully he will join the long list of fathers and sons in the majors. Here's a scouting report on McCullers.

Lance Jr. has pretty much hit the ground running. As a sophomore, he was throwing 96 on the radar gun, not unlike the self-proclaimed messiah of baseball, Bryce Harper. Like Bryce, he's a two-way star as he plays infield too, but it's widely believed that McCullers will wind up a pitcher, like his father.

Since going to Tampa Jesuit, McCullers has left behind a trail of awards and top amateur team selections. He was the 2009 MaxPreps Freshman of the Year, was named to several Perfect Game USA all star teams, played in the 2011 Baseball Factory Under Armour All American game at Wrigley Field as the only non-senior, and received a Louisville Slugger All American honorable mention. He's committed to pitching for the University of Florida, but don't expect him to go unless Scott Boras takes him under his wing, which is highly likely.

McCullers' arsenal includes the aforementioned fastball, which as of now reaches high 90s velocity, a changeup that reaches the mid 80s, and a fast curveball that also reaches 80, all good pitches. However, sources have said that he has had struggles with command, which downgrades him a bit. Nonetheless, barring any injury, he's bound to go top five at the worst, top three at the best.

The burning question is obvious: Will McCullers be the first high school pitcher taken first overall to make it to the big leagues? I believe it's a very slight possibility. The Astros have first overall pick though, and given that their minor league system is stacked with blue chip pitching prospects acquired from trades, McCullers may find himself dropped down to Minnesota at number two or lower.

McCullers will make the major leagues, no doubt about it, but barring any really drastic decisions made by the Astros, who have yet to make a risky pick in the Ed Wade era (or in the Jeff Luhnow era for that matter), McCullers will find himself as a second option behind premier college talent Mark Appel.

In conclusion, we can determine that McCullers is certainly a top level pitcher, but it's a long time before high school baseball starts. A lot can happen in a few months.

Projection: Top 10 pick, most likely Kansas City. Will reach majors by 2015-16, should develop into an ace if command is fixed. 10-12 year career, two all star selections. Capable of at least one 20-win season, depending on what team he pitches for.