2012 Draft Scouting Report: Lance McCullers

Scouting reports are the foundation of the talent evaluation system, and the reports that are used on draft day are developed from multiple viewings over the course of a player's amateur career. As part of our 2012 draft coverage here at Scout.com, we'll be providing team quality first-hand scouting reports on the names you need to know on draft day. Here's a look at prep righty, Lance McCullers.

Name: Lance McCullers
Position: Pitcher
School: Jesuit H.S. (Fla.)
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 190
Bats/Throws: L/R

Events Scouted: Perfect Game National Showcase

Lance McCullers, RHP, Jesuit H.S. (Fla.) from Frankie Piliere on Vimeo.



Physical Description


McCullers is not an overly large player. He's listed at 6-foot-1 and that seems about right. But, he has a lot of mature strength and is very wiry. There's some room for him to grow in his lower half, but otherwise this is about where he'll be physically for the long term.

Mechanics

There's some effort to his delivery, but not the kind you'd expect to produce 98 mph heat. He gathers exceptionally well at his balance point and has a long, lightning fast arm action. He turns inwards at his balance point and tends to open his front side a little early at times, but overall he stays very consistent with his mechanics. Given this slight back turn, he also hides the ball very well. He tends to drift forward a little more working from the stretch position. Mechanically, he shares some similarities with A.J. Burnett.

Fastball

This is the name of the game for McCullers. He sat 95-98 mph at the PG National and threw mostly 97 mph fastballs. And, he even reached 99 on a couple guns behind the plate. This is a special, explosive fastball. Even in the upper 90s, McCullers gets outstanding life on his fastball, as it bores in on righties and he has the ability to run it back to the corner on his glove side. We'll have to see how the young righty maintains his velocity over a 100 pitch outing, but I believe he has that ability. He may not be pumping 98 on every pitch but we should still see consistent 94-97 mph heat. This is one of the best pure arms to come along on the prep side in a long time.

Curveball

If his fastball wasn't so outstanding you could make the case for this being McCullers' best pitch. It's a true potential plus-plus offering with disappearing action. He throws it at 82-85, and you make the case for calling it a slider. But, given it's downward action it behaves much more like a power curveball. The bite is sharp, late, and almost straight down. This is a swing and miss big league offering right now and gets some extreme knee buckling reactions from high school hitters.

Changeup

That's right, McCullers also has a changeup and a very good one at that. While he mostly goes to the curveball right now, he flashes a changeup with outstanding potential. And, at the professional level that will come in handy if he wants to be a starter. Thrown at 84-88 mph, the differential is certainly there for McCullers. But, it was the good dead fish action down and away from lefties that was so impressive at the PG National. He doesn't have the feel yet he has with his other two pitches, as he yanked a couple to his arm side, but he maintains his arm speed very well and with use will learn to master it.

Summation

You don't see arms like McCullers' very often. About the only knocks you could put on him are his size and effort in his delivery. He's also a bit animated on the mound and it will be interesting to see how he handles adversity. Other than that, the raw stuff and feel for those pitches is hard to match. He has two plus-plus offerings already, and a potential for another above average pitch in his changeup. The sky is the limit here, and if he continues to throw like this, he's a lock for the top ten next June.

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