Laurila: Lance McCullers Jr. on being studious and not throwing to blank spaces

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on October 11, 2018:

Lance McCullers Jr. put up some pretty good numbers during the regular season. The Houston Astros hurler had a 3.86 ERA and a 3.50 FIP and punched out 10 batters per nine innings. It wasn’t all peaches and cream — a forearm strain limited him to 128 innings — but he was nevertheless a stalwart on one of baseball’s best teams.

He still has room to grow. McCullers turned 25 years old earlier this month, and in terms of consistency, he remains a work in progress. Borderline unhittable when on top of his game, he’s prone to implosions. Four times this year he allowed five or more runs in fewer than five innings. McCullers readily admits he needs to learn how to limit such damage.

To a large extent, he’s already learned how to best utilize his plus stuff. Tapping into technology and the attained knowledge of veteran teammates — plus the study of others — he’s evolved into a thinking-man’s power pitcher. Thanks to a mid-90s heater and a hammer curveball, augmented by that studious approach, he’s on the doorstep of becoming elite.

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Originally published: October 11, 2018. Last Updated: October 11, 2018.