Two years after being drafted by the Houston Astros straight out of high school, Lance McCullers, Jr. is living his dream.
“It was special, you anticipate that for a long time,” said the 21-year-old after suiting up and pitching for the Astros for the first time at a spring training game March 17th. Several days later he would go on to pitch two exhibition games as an Astro.
The 6’2″, 205 pound right-handed pitcher is officially with the organization’s minor league affiliate teams, drafted just days after his 2012 graduation from Tampa’s Jesuit High for $2.5 million. This season he’s with the Class AA Corpus Cristi Hooks.
“Staying humble, being the same person I was before I got drafted, before the money,” says McCullers is how he addresses his quick rise in the world of baseball that few others experience.
Of teammates who’ve had a different, longer road he says he’s learned, “You can’t be discouraged just because you didn’t make your high school varsity team. You can’t be discouraged because you don’t go to the best college.”
Baseball is in his blood. His father Lance McCullers played for the Yankees, Padres and Tigers. McCullers, Jr. tells News Channel 8 his personal experience with success at a young age has taught him to surround himself with people who support him, and people who can give him advice about all things from family to finances.
“We have a financial investor, we stay on a tight budget,” says the MLB hopeful. “My mom, along with my dad just always stressed to me that when you’re out there you represent all of us as a unit.”
He hopes to someday regularly play with the big league team, but is just relishing the opportunities he’s had so far. He tackles life with the specification and speed of his 96 mile per hour fastball. He’ll be 22 when he marries later this year.
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