Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lance McCullers Jr. Q&A

If you recognize the name, it's because he's the son of the former pitcher who shares the same name. This season, as a high school sophmore, he was the starting shortstop, number 3 hitter, and ace pitcher for the Tigers, his high school team. McCullers, despite being 16 years old, throws a 99 MPH fastball and a curveball that hits the mid-80's. Scouts say he hasn't even hit his velocity peak yet. He's projected to go as the number one draft pick in 2012 but has committed to the University of Florida.

1. How would you describe yourself as a person and how would you describe yourself as a baseball player?
Many people unfortunately do not know me as a person, they only see what is on the field. On the field I would say I am an extremely competitive guy and serious during a game. I don’t mess around and only focus on the task that is at hand. In the field I am focused and more low key, I make my plays and am ready for the next pitch. When I hit I am very serious, I don't take any AB off. When I am on the mound I am very competitive, I may even come off as a little aggressive at times but to get the job done is what I am up there to do, its all business. Outside of baseball I am calm, outgoing, playful guy. I love to hang out and play basketball, go in the pool, or see a movie. I am pretty low key and just an overall nice guy. What you see on the field compared to off the field is totally different.

2. How big a part has your dad played in your baseball career?
My dad has been there from day one and especially when it comes to pitching has taught me most of what I know. He has taught me how to deal with the ups and downs of baseball and the mental part of the game that most kids have to learn on their own. When I am on the mound I am a replica of my father. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am today.

3. When did you realize that you had a special talent and that you could go somewhere with baseball?
I have been playing baseball since I can remember, and it has always been a dream and a goal of mine to play baseball as my career. When I was young I always played a few years above my age but when I really understood my full talent within the game of baseball was probably around my 9th grade year. This is when I started to throw really hard and started to play against other top players and found myself at the top of that list.

4. Are you planning on being drafted out of high school or planning to go to college (if so, which colleges are possibilities)?
I have committed to the University of Florida, but as far as the draft goes my mind set is, and will remain, college first but when the draft comes around we will play it by ear and see how it goes.

5. Several sources have ranked you as the number one draft pick in 2012 if you plan on playing baseball out of high school. How has this affected how you play? Has it added pressure or given you more confidence?
To be totally honest I try to pay as little attention as possible to the rankings and hype surrounding me, but I do feel honored to be thought of as a top prospect and hopeful top draft pick one day. As far as the way I play the game or if I add any pressure while playing, I don't. I never let that affect the way I approach the game. Baseball is not a job to me, it is fun and I have a great time playing everyday. My passion and love drives me, not what could be in a few years. I go out there and play lose and have fun. Rankings or not I will always be confident in my ability and the hard work I put in to be the best I can be.

6. You led your high school team in batting and you're one of the top ranked pitching prospects in the country. Do you plan on becoming a pitcher or a position player?
Like I said baseball is not a job yet, I am having fun playing SS, hitting and closing. I am still just a kid having fun on the diamond. When it comes time for a decision, hopefully a team has drafted me and they can decide.

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