Culver Getting Used to the Pros

Culver has two walks in his first two SI games

Cito Culver broke into his first professional season on June 25th, starting at shortstop for the Gulf Coast League Yankees. Just five days earlier, the first round pick had just graduated high school, and just seven days earlier he inked a deal worth $954K. His numbers since then are not exactly stellar thus far, but he has shown a lot of promise both at the plate and defensively.

His average is just .259 through 43 games between the GCL and Staten Island, and has 18 RBI, two home runs, and six stolen bases.

"I like it up here so far," said the Yankees' first round pick, who not only turns 18 this week but who was also recently promoted to Low-A Staten Island. "Being able to move up and see a little different competition, I think it's good and I'm getting a lot of experience."

The promotion puts Culver somewhat closer to home, and will enjoy his family's company in the upcoming week.

"My family will be down in Staten Island on Monday to see me play," Culver said after his first game with the club. "It's not my home town, but it's pretty close, so I'm going to enjoy it here while I can."

Just like every other high school draft pick, Culver has had to make some adjustments, many of which he will have to get used to quickly.

"Playing every day is tough on your body," said Culver. "Playing at night and playing every day are two big [adjustments] I've had to make."

Although Culver has only played two games with Staten Island, he is hitless, but has shown some promise. His mechanics are smooth, and he has been very solid at shortstop.

"I don't think I'm pressing at the plate or anything," said Culver. "I've really just got to stay within myself and try to get on base any way I can."

Culver is a switch-hitter, with a little more advantage from the left side, and even shows a little Ichiro-like swing at times. On some pitches you can see Culver pulling off of the ball slightly towards first base.

"I don't like to do that, but I do sometimes," said Culver with a smile. "It's becoming a little bit of a bad habit, but I know I shouldn't really do it that often because most of the time it doesn't help me."

Watching Culver at shortstop, he makes very few mistakes, and he knows how to play the position. There is no doubt that Culver has the potential to be Derek Jeter's replacement, and there is definitely some similarities on the defensive side of things.

"I don't really think about that," said Culver. "I just go out there, try my best, and one day I'll have a shot at the big leagues."

It's hard to speculate on Culver's future just yet, as he has very limited experience so far. A lot will ride on the rest of his season with Staten Island, and how he does in fall instructs. But, as long as coaches and fans alike stay patient with Culver, he should have no problem succeeding, because he has the potential to be a great ballplayer.

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