Christopher Culver, or Cito Culver, 18, is a switch hitting shortstop listed at 6-0 and 185-pounds. He was born and raised in Rochester, New York where he went to Irondequoit High School. As a senior Culver hit .561 with 10 doubles, five triples, nine homers, 38 RBI’s, and 20 walks in just 22 games.
Culver was taken with the 32nd overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He wasn’t a popular 1st round pick to say the least, but the Yankees liked the fact that his bat was so far along at such a young age and loved his arm, he hit 95 mph as a pitcher in high school. Being that he is from upstate New York, an area where prospects don’t normally get a lot of attention, the Yankees had an advantage when it came to scouting him and saw him much more than any other team.
There was also some question of Culver’s make up. Culver himself has never been known for any issues himself, but in 2008 his father, Chris Culver Sr., attempted to burn the family house down with Culver’s mother inside. He is currently serving nine-years in Attica maximum security prison. All those issues are limited to his father though and Culver himself has always been known as a good kid with a very strong work ethic.
When the Yankees drafted Culver he had a commitment to the University of Maryland, but he grew up a Yankee fan and was eager to sign with them. He signed for slot value $954,000.
Culver signed pretty much as quickly as he could after being drafted and it wasn’t long before he was assigned to the Gulf Coast League. There he played in 41 games, putting up a .269 batting average, and a .683 OPS.
Late in the season he was promoted to short season A-Ball Staten Island. Undoubtedly the youngest player in the league, he hit .186 with a .549 OPS in 15 games there.
Don’t let Culver’s poor numbers in his first season fool you. He is still extremely young, one of the youngest players taken in the draft, and he has a great set of tools on him.
First off, the Yankees love his hitting ability. He’s extremely young and raw though at this point and it’s possible he might not even be on a full season minor league team next year. Right now he has no power to speak of, but at such a young age he has plenty of projectablity left and could fill out a bit more and develop some gap power.
He’s also a pretty quick runner. He doesn’t seem to have blazing speed, but it seems like 20 stolen bases a year is a real possibility. His defense is his best asset at this point though. He has good range and is very athletic so he’ll grow out of most mistakes he makes now. He also has a plus arm so he should have no problem making those Jeter-esque throws from deep at short.
Right now the best two things about Culver are the likelihood that he is sound enough defensively that he’ll have no problem sticking at shortstop. There is also his projectability. Because of that it’s hard to tell where his ceiling is. If he becomes a major leaguer that can hit .280-.300 with good speed and great defense the Yankees would surely take it though.
It’s hard to tell exactly what the Yankees will do with him in 2011. He’ll probably play in Low-A Charleston at some point, but he’ll probably start the season in extended spring training. It’s possible that he spends another season in Staten Island too. Either way it’s doubtful that he even gets to High-A Tampa before 2012.
Best case scenario at this point puts him in the majors at around 2015. That actually works well for the Yankees who will have Derek Jeter around until that season.
|2010||2 Teams||2 Lgs||Rk-A-||56||203||23||51||8||2||18||7||4||21||51||.251||.325||.330||.655|
Photo by Robert Pimpsner of www.robertpimpsner.com.