Thick, muscular frame; could tack on some pounds down the road; low 3/4 slot; slings it; max effort; shows ball in the back of his delivery; brings his landing leg into his body and drives off the mound; landing point was more consistent in the first look; the second look he was landing closed (failure to rotate hip completely) which lead to his wildness; missed arm-side and high with regularity; release point varies; loose control and command in both looks; don't see a good profile; has his moments where he's locked in, but that quickly can change; competes on the mound; gets frustrated and can overthrow.
Lancaster JetHawks (High A, Astros)
55; 8th-inning reliever
Plus-arm strength; lots of 92's and 93's; has some run to it due to his arm slot; more movement at the lower velos; a tick slower later in the game; very hard pitch to square down in the zone; has trouble spotting the ball on the outer third vs. LHB; misses arm-side often; control and command profile limit the potential for me; still a plus-pitch going forward.
Power curveball; very tight spin with severe vertical drop; two-plane break; can turn it into a slurve at the higher velos but it's devastating; throws it in any count; very confident in this pitch; command needs tightening; shows ability to drop for strikes or chase; already a major-league quality offering.
Rarely threw it in his first look; flashed in his second appearance; had more feel; got a couple swings and misses, but not from above-average potential bats; has a little sink; arm slows; he can telegraph it; can be used as a change-of-pace pitch but bats at the highest level can and will time it up.
McCullers overall numbers look very good for a 20-year-old thus far, especially in the high-octane offensive environment of the Cal League. The two appearances I witnessed (one start and one scheduled relief appearance) showed off his raw abilities; his arm strength and ability to break off a very good curve. But due to the lack of a third future plus pitch, fringy command profile, and inconsistent delivery, I'm hard pressed to see him find consistent success at the highest level as a starter. His perfect world ceiling is that of a innings-eating #3 starter, but I find his profile much better suited for the bullpen long term. The fastball could play up and curveball will always be there for him. He could be a very good reliever.