Lance McCullers Jr.

Lance Graye McCullers Jr. (born October 2, 1993) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Astros selected McCullers in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2015, and was an All-Star in 2017.

Lance McCullers Jr.
Lance McCullers in 2017.jpg
McCullers with the Houston Astros in 2017
Houston Astros – No. 43
Born: (1993-10-02) October 2, 1993 (age 27)
Tampa, Florida
Bats: Left Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 18, 2015, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
(through May 22, 2021)
Win–loss record35-26
Earned run average3.63
Career highlights and awards

High schoolEdit

McCullers graduated from Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida. He was named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year in 2012.[1]


Draft and signingEdit

The Houston Astros selected McCullers in the first round, with the 41st overall selection, of the 2012 MLB Draft. He signed with the Astros, receiving a $2.5 million signing bonus. McCullers pitched for the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Class A Midwest League for the 2013 season when the River Bandits won the Midwest League championship.[2]


For the 2014 season, McCullers was promoted to the Lancaster JetHawks of the Class A-Advanced California League. On April 29, 2014, McCullers and Kyle Smith combined to tie a Lancaster franchise record with 17 strikeouts against the High Desert Mavericks. The JetHawks went on to become the 2014 California League Champions after beating the Northern Division Champion Visalia Rawhide.

McCullers began the 2015 season with the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Class AA Texas League. The Astros promoted him to the Fresno Grizzlies of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League on May 14, and then announced he would make his major league debut on May 18.[3] He allowed one run, three walks and three hits while striking out five batters in 4+23 innings. He took a no-decision in the Astros' 2–1 loss to the Oakland Athletics."[4] He threw his first career complete game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 3, 2015. He would remain in the Astros rotation and finish with 22 starts. McCullers began the 2016 season on the disabled list with shoulder soreness.[5] McCullers finished the season 6–5 in 14 starts.


The Astros assigned McCullers to the starting rotation at the outset of 2017 season. From May 6–23, he delivered 22 scoreless innings, which among Astros pitchers, was the longest scoreless inning streak since Roy Oswalt completed 32 from August 27 through September 11, 2008. In that same span, McCullers also became the first Astros pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1984 to allow no earned runs over at least five innings pitched in each of four consecutive appearances.[6]

For the month of May, McCullers claimed his first career American League (AL) Pitcher of the Month Award. He was credited with a 4–0 record over six starts. He permitted an AL-leading 0.99 earned run average (ERA), 21 hits, and a .164 batting average against (BAA) with 37 strikeouts. He also ranked second in wins, third in BAA, and tied for fifth in strikeouts.[6]

The Astros placed McCullers on the disabled list (DL) due to a back injury, and he returned on June 24.[7] He was selected to the All-Star Game,[8] finishing the first half of the season with a record of 7–2 and 106 strikeouts. With a recurring back injury, McCullers returned to the DL after July 30, after posting a 7.45 ERA and 1–5 W–L in between DL stints.[7]

On October 21, 2017, McCullers pitched four scoreless innings in relief and earned his first career save in a 4–0 win over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS. This sent the Astros to their first World Series since 2005 and their first as a member of the AL, to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.[9] He drew the start in Game 3 for his first career World Series start,[10] and again in Game 7.[11] The Astros won the Series in the seventh game for the first title in franchise history, and first for McCullers.[12]


McCullers began the season in the rotation, going 10–6 through 22 starts before landing on the disabled list on August 5 with discomfort in his right elbow.[13] After missing more than a month because of the injury, he returned towards the last 2 weeks of the regular season in a bullpen role, appearing in 3 games. He threw a curve 47.4% of the time, tops in MLB.[14]


On November 6, 2018, McCullers underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow and was ruled out for the entire 2019 baseball season.[15] McCullers completed his rehab from Tommy John Surgery in early November, 2019.[16]


In 2020, he was 3–3 with a 3.93 ERA, as he pitched 55 innings with 56 strikeouts in 11 starts.[17]


On March 24, 2021, McCullers and the Astros agreed to a five-year, $85MM contract extension that includes a $3.5MM signing bonus.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

His father, Lance McCullers, played in Major League Baseball from 1985 to 1992.[19]

McCullers is a Catholic and spoke about his faith in a video for the Astros' Faith and Family Night in 2015.[20]

McCullers married longtime girlfriend Kara Kilfoile in December 2015. Their first child, a daughter, was born in December 2019.[21]

In 2016, the Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation, a non-profit organization, was established by McCullers and his family to advocate for stray and homeless animals.[22]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Konecky, Chad. "McCullers named National Baseball POY". Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  2. ^ "River Bandits sweep Midwest League championship". Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "Heralded pitching prospect Lance McCullers to make Astros' debut Monday". Ultimate Astros. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  4. ^ "McCullers: Debut achieved 'lifelong dream'". Houston Astros. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  5. ^ Reese, Josh (April 1, 2016). "MLB Opening Day 2016: Astros' Lance McCullers injury update". The Crawfish Boxes. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  6. ^ a b McIlvoy, Randy (June 2, 2017). "Astros' Correa, McCullers named AL Player, Pitcher of Month for May". KPRC-TV Houston. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  7. ^ a b DuBose, Ben (August 20, 2017). "Correa, McCullers closer to rejoining Astros". Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  8. ^ and CBS Sports (July 2, 2017). "5 Astros chosen for MLB American League All-Star team". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  9. ^ Healey, Tim (October 22, 2017). "Astros' Lance McCullers remembers Jose Fernandez while pitching team to World Series". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  10. ^ "Lance McCullers to start Game 3 of World Series for Astros". Houston Chronicle. October 25, 2017. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  11. ^ Blum, Ronald (November 1, 2017). "Dodgers force World Series Game 7 vs. Astros". Toronto Star. Associated Press. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  12. ^ McTaggart, Brian; Gurnick, Ken (November 2, 2017). "Houston Strongest! Astros rule the World". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  13. ^ McTaggart, Brian (August 5, 2018). "Lance McCullers injured, placed on DL". Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Statcast Pitch Arsenals Leaderboard |". Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  15. ^ "Lance McCullers Jr has Tommy John surgery". MLB. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  16. ^ Hill, Climbing Tal's (November 6, 2019). "#Astros: Lance McCullers Jr. says rehab is complete (via @phin_tx) …". @astrosCTH. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  17. ^ "Lance McCullers Jr. Stats".
  18. ^
  19. ^ "McCullers has big arm, big league bloodline". May 26, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  20. ^ "Lance McCullers on faith".
  21. ^ "McCullers Jr. refuses to waste shot in majors". tbo. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  22. ^ Cohn, Brian (October 23, 2019). "Lance McCullers: The Hero Houston Deserves On & Off the Field". The Crawfish Boxes. Retrieved April 15, 2020.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dallas Keuchel
American League
Pitcher of the Month

May 2017
Succeeded by
Corey Kluber