The Houston Astros have announced that RHP Lance McCullers Jr. has been called up from Triple-A Fresno and will make his first ML start against the Oakland Athletics on Monday. McCullers is a former first round draft pick of the Astros from 2012 from Jesuit High School in Tampa, FL, is ranked by MLB.com as the number 52 prospect, and ranked as the Houston Astros 10th best prospect.
McCullers is technically making the jump from Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, as he spent one day in Fresno before being called up on Friday. During his time at Corpus Christi he went 3-1 in six games (four starts) and had a .62 ERA with 43 strikeouts for the Hooks. He led all Double-A pitchers in batting average against (.146), ranked second in ERA, and tied for fourth in strikeouts (43) in 29 innings pitched. He never threw a pitch for the Fresno Grizzles. Lance will be the youngest player to make his debut for the Astros since Jose Altuve (21 years, 75 days) at 21 years and 228 days old.
Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh are a combined 9-1 to begin the season, but the back-end of the rotation has struggled this year as all other starting pitchers are a combined 4-10. With Brett Oberholtzer moving back to the disabled list due to another injury to a finger on his throwing hand, Luhnow and Astros Manager A.J. Hinch thought it was time to make the move. Houston’s GM Jeff Luhnow spoke to media about McCullers saying,”He gives the team a chance to win now.” If nothing else, it represents a philosophy change in Houston from a team working to build, to a team that’s ready to win now.