Lance McCullers Jr. had undoubtedly his best season yet in 2021, and with future Hall Of Famer Justin Verlander likely to leave, the Astros will need McCullers to be the leader.
2021 season in review
McCullers had his best season by far in 2021, his earned run average (ERA) was 3.16, his walks to hits per innings pitched ratio (WHIP) was 1.22, and his season strikeout number was 185. By far the most impressive part of McCullers campaign was that it was his first full season pitching after coming off of Tommy John surgery in 2019. (2020 was a shortened 60 game season).
Another highlight for McCullers this season came on March 26th when he signed a five-year $85 million contract to stay in Houston.
He was also lights out during the postseason, although he did injure himself after pitching in game four of the ALDS against Chicago and was unable to pitch the remainder of the season.
His postseason line was as follows, 1-0 with an ERA of .84 with a WHIP of 1.12.
2022 and on
McCullers will be the veteran in the pitching staff when spring rolls around. McCullers (assuming that Justin Verlander leaves) is the only remaining pitcher from the Astros 2017 championship team. The Astros rotation is full of young talent with names like Jose Urquidy, Framber Valdez, and Luis Garcia.
This team plays well behind McCullers whose energy falls onto the others. His postseason experience is something that can help the new guys down the road.
McCullers isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon, and with six more seasons on his contract who knows, he might just get his first CY Young.
McCullers is slowly becoming one of the best pitchers in the game today. His breaking stuff is some of the nastiest pitches seen in recent years, and it’s obvious that the Astros elected to bring him back.
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