Advertisement

ASTROS SELECT MCCULLERS 41ST

Published Jun. 5, 2012

With the 41st overall pick in the supplemental first round, the Houston Astros selected Jesuit pitcher Lance McCullers on Monday night.

The Astros' pick was years in the making. McCullers received his first scholarship offers, from Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, before he entered high school.

"It's ironic that I was picked the same place as my dad," said McCullers of Lance Sr., drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1982. "We'll see how negotiations go.

McCullers finished his high school career on a high note, winning the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award last week. On the field, he was 13-0 and surrendered just two earned runs in 77.1 innings for a 0.18 ERA. He faced 310 batters as a senior and struck out 140. To end his year, McCullers threw 136 pitches for the win in the Class 6A region finals before turning around and throwing 93 more over six scoreless innings in the state semifinals.

King first baseman Keon Barnum also was drafted, going 48th to the Chicago White Sox. Barnum hit .417 this season, with five home runs and 27 runs scored.

"It's very exciting, I'm so excited," said Barnum, as he let out a sigh of relief. "My heart is racing. I didn't get a call, I saw my name, and my heart just dropped."

McCullers was ranked the 13th best prospect by Baseball America heading into the draft. Duke pitcher Marcus Stroman, ranked No. 10, was the last prospect ranked ahead of McCullers to hear his name called, and he went No.22 to the Toronto Blue Jays.

McCullers, who is advised be the Boras Corporation, was seen as a tough player to sign heading into the draft. Boras' other top client, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, was the consensus No. 1 pick but fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates at No. 8.

"Obviously Lance is disappointed and probably deserved to go higher," Jesuit coach Richie Warren said. "His goal is to play pro baseball. The goal is not to go first round, it's to get what is fair value and go somewhere that gives you best chance to make it to majors. If he's able to do so at 41, then he'll do that."

The Astros, who took Puerto Rico Baseball Academy shortstop Carlos Correa with the first overall pick, have the second-largest bonus pool ($11.2 million for its 11 picks in the first 10 rounds) of any team.

The slotted bonus for the 41st pick is $1,258,700, though if Houston saves money with other picks, McCullers could be offered more. (Correa was projected to go no higher than No.7, and the difference in slotted bonus between the first and seventh pick is $4.2 million.)

If McCullers does not sign with the Astros by the July 13 deadline, he will head to the University of Florida.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.