Lance McCullers Showing Signs of Ace Potential
- Updated: July 29, 2016
It is no secret that Lance McCullers Jr. has a bright future with the Houston Astros, but now it is starting to look as though he could become THE future of Astros pitching. McCullers, just 22 years old, is pitching this season to the tune of a 3.16 ERA as the third option in the rotation. The trait that has carried and will continue to carry Lance is his insane strikeout ability. When looking at McCullers’ strikeout numbers, it is an interesting assessment against some of the all time greats:
#Astros all-time SP K/9 leaders
HOU all-time SP K% leaders
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) July 16, 2016
Obviously Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens played for a longer period of time, but the fact that McCullers tops that list so early on in his career shows lethal potential for his future. More evidence shows that Lance McCullers also leads the American League this season with a 29.23 K% and 11.52 K/9. He can attribute these strikeout numbers to his array of plus pitches at his disposal. In his arsenal is a curveball that he often times throws with a lethal 3000+ rpm, as he did in the July 22 game against the Angels 41 times.
Most 3000+ RPM pitches in a game this year:
McCullers tonight: 41 !!!
— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 23, 2016
Along with that is a fastball that topped out at 97.3 MPH against that same Angels team on July 22 as well as a changeup that reached 94 MPH against the Yankees on the 27 of July.
Sounds about right. Lol. pic.twitter.com/SOf94t4ozF
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) July 28, 2016
To recap, a fastball between 94-97 MPH, a changeup that can top out at 94 MPH, and a curveball that apparently can be routinely thrown with 3000+ rotations per minute, causing a drop that leaves most hitters swinging at air as Mike Trout did to end 3 of his at bats against McCullers on that fateful night. With such a crazy good arsenal, it is no surprise that McCullers is likened to a pitcher most MLB teams are after this trade deadline, a left handed ace by the name of Chris Sale. This season Sale posts a line of: 3.17 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 3.75 xFIP, 8.6 K/9 while McCullers posts a similar line of: 3.18 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 3.14 xFIP, 11.8 K/9. The difference between the two is that Sale sports a 2.0 BB/9 while McCullers is an obscene 5.2 BB/9. If McCullers can limit his pitch count and go further into his starts he will be the ace of the Astros in the very near future. We talked about this very topic on Thursday’s show, found in the 22 minute mark below. Make sure to tune in on Thursday nights at 8 to KSAA DB The Line to hear brief Astro talk and Sundays at 9 on KTXF DB Talking Stros! Give us a follow and share with your friends!