Malcom Culver is a guy who you probably do not know much about. He was an 8th round pick from the Royals draft that produced major leaguers Eric Hosmer (1), Mike Montgomery (1A), Johnny Giavotella (2), Tim Melville (4), John Lamb (5), and Blaine Hardy (22) back in 2008. Culver is hoping to be the 7th player to reach the majors from that Royals draft. Blair Kerkhoff wrote an article in the KC Star about him back on February 23, 2017. In that article, Culver said his dream is “to pitch in front of the fountains at Kauffman Stadium.” Additionally, Mike Sweeney spoke about how Culver is a guy he is rooting for in that same KC Star article referencing the 2015 Mike Sweeney Award winner as a guy who “is a grinder.” The Mike Sweeney Award is given to the player who best represents the Royals on and off the field.
But Culver might not be that far away from realizing his dream even though he is a 2008 draft pick. As the team tries to decide if they can re-sign their impending free agents and continue to compete or if they need a full rebuild, Culver continues to grind. He spent all of last season in Omaha amassing 9 saves and finishing 24 of the 32 games he pitched in before losing the end of his season to injury.
After he was drafted, the Royals worked on developing Culver as a position player for 3 seasons before going back to the consensus of the baseball world that he would be best as a pitcher. So in 2011, Culver made the move back to pitching full time and has shown improvement at each level he has gone through. Culver is a 93-96 mph guy who is becoming more of a ground ball pitcher as he gains experience. He seems to limit the home runs and gets his fair share of strikeouts using a change up and slider.
During a spring training game broadcast before the 2017 season, Rex Hudler asked then-pitching coach Dave Eiland who were some guys not being talked about that could get to the majors this year. Eiland mentioned six names and Culver was one of those guys. However, Eiland has moved on and the Royals are currently in between pitching coaches and Culver is almost as vested in the MLB retirement system as a 10-year minor league player.
Whatever the future brings, Culver is a good guy on and off the field who will be easy to root for and celebrate when he finally does get that big league callup. Culver has the ability to pitch for the Royals or another MLB team and I’ll be cheering for his success when that major league call up happens.
Photo Credits: Minda Haas Kuhlmann