Houston, we have a problem. The Astros got some bad news today as Lance McCullers, Jr. underwent Tommy John surgery.
McCullers, a talented young pitcher, will miss the entire 2019 season as a result of the surgery.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. underwent Tommy John surgery today. He is out for the 2019 season.— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) November 6, 2018
Through a career-high 25 games in 2018, McCullers surrendered 55 earned runs on 100 hits, including 12 home runs. While pitching a career-high 128.1 innings, he recorded a 3.86 ERA in 2018. He went 10-6, striking out 142 batters while walking just 50.
McCullers played through a serious elbow injury in September and October, as the Astros fought for a good position in the playoffs, and then made their way throughout the postseason before they lost to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. Playing through an already-serious injury certainly didn’t help McCullers and is possibly the reason why he had to have Tommy John surgery.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said yesterday that McCullers would not miss any of the 2019 regular season if surgery was not necessary, but that prospect was eliminated as the 25-year old righty underwent surgery earlier today.
To literally add insult to injury, pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton are free agents this offseason and are not expected to return to Houston for the 2019 season, leaving the Astros with plenty of work to do this offseason as they enter free agency. There’s plenty of time for the Astros to improve their pitching staff, but they’re in a tougher position now than they were when the season ended.