[Cito Culver] looked much bigger than his listed height at 6’0 or 6’1. He also gained some more strength, which he definitely needed the last time I checked. Starting with the defensive side of things, Culver showed plenty of range, which isn’t a surprise since he has plus speed. His hands are a little bit too aggressive when waiting for the ball or getting to it, but he made the plays that needed to be made. To his left, he’s a much stronger defender than to his right, but many shortstops have a respective strong side.
Back to his speed, he was able to get out of the box fast, although his follow through seemed a bit exagerated. For instance, he seemed to just want to rush out of the box after he made contact instead of following through and squaring his feet, so he’s set to run to first faster and easier. He’s a fantastic baserunner but needs some refining on his slides. I thought he hesitated a bit when sliding, which was a reason he was caught stealing in the early going.
At the plate, I mentioned his lack of a fluent swing. That’ll get worked out and shouldn’t be a problem. From what I noticed, he has pretty good plate coverage. He was so much better looking at the plate than I previously heard, and I was impressed. He has good plate recognition and doesn’t swing at bad inside pitches. Chasing outside the zone is a different story, but even the best hitters have trouble with that. He’s able to drive the ball and hook the inside pitches, something that as a shortstop will get him relatively far.
I wrote an article recently suggesting Culver to be transformed in to a pitcher, his original position — I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I from what I’ve heard, read, and saw, I really like Culver at the plate.
Culver was the Yankees first round pick in 2010 (32nd overall) and even though many looked down at the pick at the time, it seems like he is starting to grow on people. He was one of the youngest in the draft at the time and is still just 18 years old so the parts of this report that call him raw are nothing to be concerned about. Even if the Yankees take it year by year with him, he’ll still be just 23 by the time he reaches the Bronx.
It’s good to hear a positive report on him so early. And it’s great to see that he is already surprising people.