Brody McCullough – Picture via Wingate Baseball
When the Cubs used their 10th pick in the 2022 draft on Wingate pitcher Brody McCullough, draft nerds all across the country went nuts in a good way because Wingate is a NCAA Division 2 school. And the reason they went nuts is because it’s always a good story when Division 2 guys get taken, especially on day one.
What makes McCullough so attractive to draft nerds begins with his size. He has what we might call a classic starting pitcher’s body. He’s 6 foot four, 205 pounds, and there’s room to add on.
For McCulloch, his life begin in Lexington North Carolina and he attended Wingate for four years and was technically a redshirt junior at the end of the season because of the pandemic.
As a freshman in 2019, McCullough worked out of the bullpen where he threw 26.2 innings. What really stands out about that season is not the ERA, which was 5.40, rather it was the strikeouts. He missed 54 bats that year. That’s a pretty good 2:1 ratio.
In 2020, he appeared in six games as a starter before the season was shut down. He threw 29.2 innings with a 3.64 ERA. The strikeout ratio was a lot less that year as he only struck out 26 and walked 13. That summer, he also played in the Coastal Plain League against some elite competition.
2021 was clearly his best year as he put up at 2.21 ERA in 69 innings. He also struck out 81 and only walked 21 which is almost 4:1. Most scouts would take that every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
For his senior year, McCullough only threw 63 innings. Two innings. But he was more reminiscent of his freshman year as he struck out 110 this spring and only walked 24. His 2.40 ERA was also another highlight and it’s no wonder he was on the Cubs radar with those kind of statistics.
But what ultimately gets somebody like McCullough drafted is that there has to be some talent. There has to be some sort of pitch that they can build around. There has to be some sort of character that this kid has a great work ethic and is coachable. There has to be some kind of glaring sign that says “DRAFT ME!”
McCullough is said to throw a nice four-pitch mix. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, usually anywhere from 91 to 94. He throws a curveball but it’s his slider that sets off alarm bells. The Cubs have really been focusing on guys who can throw heat and spin a slider.
One thing that always draws concern when taking a D2 guy is there lack of experience against advanced competition. With McCullough that might not be an issue because of his experience in the Cape Cod League this year. He played for the Harbor Hawks and threw 20 innings this summer with 30 Ks to 8 walks and a 2.70 ERA.
McCullough did debut last weekend in Arizona. He threw 2 scoreless innings and struck out 2. He was quickly promoted to Myrtle Beach on Monday, just two days ago.
McCullough’s future is clearly on the starter side of things. With his size, and with his experience, even from a D2 school, he is clearly an arm to watch for next year. It will be interesting to see how he takes to pro coaching and the technology that the Cubs have. I love a good story and McCullough might provide one in 2023.