Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Baseball Fathers and Sons: The McCullers

Baseball Fathers and Sons:  The McCullers
With the May 2015 debut of Lance McCullers Jr., he and his father have joined the company of fathers and sons who have played in the Major leagues.  On May 18, the Astros recalled pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. as they reportedly needed to fill the fifth spot in their starting rotation until Brett Oberholtzer returned from the disabled list.  McCullers, Jr. is the son of Lance McCullers, who played seven seasons in the Major leagues as a relief pitcher, between 1985 and 1992, with the Padres, Yankees, Tigers, and Rangers.
Lance McCullers Jr.
2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Lance McCullers Card #BCP200A
Lance McCullers Jr. was selected by the Astros in the 1st round (41st pick) of the 2012 amateur draft and signed with the Astros on June 18, 2012 for a bonus reported at $2.5 million.  Baseball America had McCullers rated as the Astros #4 prospect at the end of the 2012 season, the Astros #5 prospect at the end of the 2013 seasons, and at the conclusion of the 2014 season, he was rated as the Astros #11 prospect.  At the beginning of this season, Baseball America had McCullers rated as the Astros #9 prospect.   Baseball America's Top 100 Ranking of Major league prospects, rated McCullers #50 after the 2012 season and #77 at the end of the 2013 season. 

2014 Bowman Prospect Lance McCullers Card #TP36
In parts of four minor league seasons, McCullers has had a record of 12 wins and 16 losses with a 3.79 ERA with 304 strikeouts in 265.2 innings pitched.  Prior to has call up in May, McCullers was playing with Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League, the Astros' AA affiliate.  In 2015, he had pitched 29 innings in six games, starting four games with three wins and one loss and a 0.62 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched.
On May 18, McCullers Jr. made his Major league debut as the starting pitcher in the Astros' game against the A's.  He pitched 4.2 innings, gaining no decision, giving up five hits and one earned run while striking out five in the Astros 2 - 1 loss.  Since this May debut, McCullers has been a member of the Astros' rotation.  He has started six games with a record of three wins and one loss and a 2.00 ERA with 40 strikeouts. 

McCullers got his first Major league win on May 25 in the Astros 3 - 2 victory over the Tigers.  He pitched six innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs and striking out six.  During this victory over the Tigers, in the bottom of the 5th inning, Tigers' catcher James McCann lead off with a double and then went to third on Tiger shortstop Jose Igesias' single.  McCann scored the Tigers' second run of the game when centerfielder Anthony Gose was safe Astros' third baseman Jonathan Villar's throwing error.  The next batter up was second baseman Ian Kinsler, who grounded into a 4 to 3 to 2 triple play, which ended the inning with a 2 - 1 lead for the Tigers.  The Astros scored twice in the top of the 6th inning and then McCullers retired the Tigers in the bottom of the inning and left the game with a 3 - 2 lead.  Four Astro reliever held the Tigers scoreless for the remainder of the game, getting McCullers his first Major league victory.  
On June 3, in his fourth major league start, McCullers pitched a complete game in the Astros 3 - 1 victory over the Orioles.  He was aided by Astros' first baseman Chris Carter's two solo home runs, a second inning blast and a fifth inning homer.  In his complete game victory, McCullers gave one earned run and four hits while striking out 11 and improved his season record to 2 - 0.
Since his complete game victory, McCullers has remained in the Astros' rotation.   This past Sunday, June 14, in his six start of the season, McCullers pitched 5 innings in the Astros 13 - 0 victory over the Mariners.  McCullers did not give up any hits and struck out four to improve his season record to three wins and one loss.   
Father, Lance McCullers

Lance McCullers was drafted by the Phillies in the 2nd round, as the 41st pick of the 1982 amateur draft.  He signed with the Phillies on June 10, 1982.  He never appeared in a Major league game with them and he was traded to the Padres on September 20, 1983, as a player to be named later in a August 31 deal, from that same year, that sent Sixto Lezcano to the Phillies.   

Topps 1986 Lance McCullers Card #44
McCullers made his Major league debut, as a 21 year old, with the Padres on August 12, 1985.  McCullers pitched 2.2 innings in relief of Padres' starter Mark Thurmond in their 2 - 0 victory over the Reds.  McCullers earned a save in his first Major league appearance.  By his August 23rd appearance, McCullers had recorded four saves in the five games that he pitched in.  He had acquired the nickname "Baby Goose" after his Padre teammate and relief pitcher Rich "Goose" Gossage.
McCullers ended the 1985 season having pitched in 21 games with a record of no wins and two losses.  He had a 2.31 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched, and five saves.  McCullers played the next three seasons with the Padres.  In the 1986 season he pitched in 70 games for the Padres.  He had second most mound appearances for the team, behind only Craig Lefferts, who lead the National League in games pitched with 83.   McCullers five saves that season were the second highest total for the Padres, behind only Gosse Gossage's 21 saves.  
McCullers first Major league win came on April 15, 1986 in the Padres' 12 inning 2 - 1 victory over the Dodgers.  Against the Dodgers, he pitched three innings, and gave up only one hit and struck out three.  McCullers finished the 1986  season with ten wins and ten losses and a 2.78 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 136 innings pitched.  During the season, he also started seven games for the Padres.  His lone victory as a starter came on July 17 as the Padres defeated the Reds 2 - 1.  McCullers pitched seven innings and gave up four hits and one run and struck out four Reds.  
In the 1987 season, McCullers pitched in a career high, and Padre team high, 78 games.  Prior to the beginning of the season, a February trade sent Goose Gossage to the Cubs, and McCullers inherited the Padres' closer role.  In 1987, McCullers finished 9th in the National League with his 16 saves.  During this season, McCullers recorded eight wins and ten losses with a 3.72 ERA, and 126 strikeouts in 123.1 innings pitched. 
The 1988 season was McCullers final year with the Padres.  That year, he pitched in 60 games, the second highest total on the team trailing only Padres' closer Mark Davis' 62 appearances.  McCullers finished the season with three wins and six losses and a 2.49 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 97.2 innings pitched.  His ten saves finished him with the second highest total for the Padres, behind only Mark Davis and his 28 saves.
At the end of the 1988 season, McCullers was included in the trade that brought slugger Jack Clark to San Diego.  Then in the 1989 season, with the Yankees, he joined their bullpen that included closer Dave Righetti.  During this season, McCullers appeared in 52 games with a record of four wins and three losses and a 4.57 ERA.  He had three saves in 103 innings pitched with 82 strikeouts.  McCullers' strikeout total was second on the team, trailing only starter Andy Hawkins' 98 strikeouts, who pitched 208.1 innings. 
Bowman 1989 Lance McCullers Card #168
McCullers opened the 1990 season with the Yankees and pitched in 11 games with them prior to a trade that sent him to the Tigers.  On June 4, he was included in a trade with pitcher Clay Parker that brought catcher Matt Nokes to the Yankees.  He finished the year appearing in nine games with the Tigers.   For the season, McCullers had two wins, one win with the Yankees and one with the Tigers, with no losses and no saves.  He had a 3.02 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched with 31 strikeouts.
Donruss 1991 Lance McCullers Card #133
After the end of the 1990 season, McCullers was granted free agency.  He did not play in the 1991 season, but in February 1992, McCullers signed a contract with the Rangers.  He opened the season pitching with the Oklahoma City 89ers, the Rangers' AAA affiliate and a member of the Pacific Coast League.
His first appearance with the Rangers came on May 19 in the Rangers 8 - 7 win over the Indians.  McCullers pitched a three up three down 8th inning as the Rangers entered the top of the 9th inning trailing the Indians 7 to 5.  During that inning, Ruben Sierra hit a two-run home run that tied the score and Dean Palmer's single plated Kevin Reimer with the go ahead and winning run of the game in the Rangers' victory.  Rangers' reliever Jeff Russell, who himself will become a Major league father, pitched the 9th inning and saved McCullers' lone victory as a Ranger. 
McCullers pitched in four more games during the season with the Rangers.  His final appearance was on June 4, 1992 when he replaced Rangers' reliever Jeff Robinson in the 5th inning, with no outs and two runners on base.  McCullers walked three of the four batters he faced, retiring only Kirby Puckett on a fielder's choice.  Then on June 8, 1992, the Rangers released McCullers.  At age 28, had made his last major league appearance.
During his final Major league season, McCullers appeared in five games with the Rangers, winning once with no losses and a 5.40 ERA, pitching five innings with three strikeouts.  After his release by the Rangers, McCullers was signed by the Dodgers.  He finished the year pitching with the Albuquerque Dukes of the Pacific Coast League and the AAA affiliate of the Dodgers.  McCullers last season as a professional baseball player was in 1993 as he spent the season as a member of the Calgary Cannons, in the Pacific Coast League, the AAA affiliate of the Mariners.
Lance McCullers Sr. finished his Major league career with 306 appearances and a record of 28 wins and 31 losses and an ERA of 3.25, with 39 saves and 442 strikeouts in 526.1 innings pitched.       

No comments:

Post a Comment