As had been rumored all day, the Astros have indeed signed supplemental first round pick, Lance McCullers Jr. McCullers was drafted 41st overall in this years MLB Draft. He fell in the draft due to signability concerns, the fact that he is represented by mega agent Scott Boras, and had a firm commitment to play baseball for the University of Florida. McCullers tweeted earlier today that he was about to board a four hour flight but didn’t reveal the destination. It was later leaked by Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle, that McCullers was indeed en route to Houston to take a physical and sign his contract.
Being the 41st overall selection and due to the new CBA in regards to the draft, his slotted amount at that pick was $1,258,700. McCullers signed for double that at $2.5 mil, which is equal to being the 12th or 13th overall selection in the draft. His over the slot bonus of almost $1.4 mil is the largest over slotted bonus thus far in this year’s draft eclipsing the bonus given to Cardinals second round pick, Carson Kelly. McCullers’ father was also a big league pitcher for the Phillies and was also drafted with the 41st overall selection. McCullers Jr. had one of, if not the most, electric arms in the 2012 draft. His fastball consistently sits between 94-96 and hits 100 every so often. He also has a plus slider that hits the mid 80’s. He will be a welcome addition to a farm team in desperate need of legit pitching prospects. I would rank him in the top five of Astros prospects behind Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Jarred Cosart, in that order.
Due to signing top overall pick, Carlos Correa, to an under the slot contract of $4.8 million (saving over $2 mil in the process), the Astros still remain $1,296,400 under their bonus cap for their signings so far. This is excellent news for the possible signings of fourth round selection, Rio Ruiz, a high school 3B and 11th round selection, Hunter Virant, a LHP. I was hopeful we could at least get one of the aforementioned players, but now I believe both will be signed. Also, don’t forget that we still have a few college players that have not yet signed due to their play in the College World Series. We could be saving money there as well to put toward the signings of Ruiz and Virant.
An official announcement from the club has not yet occurred but should be happening any time now as General Manager, Jeff Luhnow, had previously stated that if and when McCullers Jr. was signed, he wanted to announce it to the press as they did with Correa. This is yet another great day in Astros history. Thank you Jeff Luhnow, Bobby Heck and most importantly, Jim Crane!!!