It hasn’t all been good news on the prospect front thus far.
Lefty Nate Culp, the Double-A Opening Day starter this season after posting a 4.06 FIP at San Antonio last year, has been pounded for an 8.38 ERA in two starts. He’s allowed three homers and four walks in 9 2/3 innings, while striking out only four men.
Culp is a lefty in the Wade LeBlanc mold, working in the mid-80’s with his fastball and mixing in a solid curveball and changeup.
Unlike LeBlanc, however, Culp has really no ability to strike batters out; he’s averaged about 4 K/9 over the past two years.
It’s tough to be an effective pitcher when you miss that few bats unless you’re an extreme groundballer who almost never allows homers. Culp gets a good amount of grounders, but his homer rate is just average.
At 25, Culp is very unlikely to make a major league impact unless he figures out a way to miss bats.