clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 Mets Draft profile: Christian Little

With their nineteenth round selection in the 2023 draft, the 576th overall pick, the Mets selected Christian Little, a right-handed pitcher from LSU.

Christian Little is the son of Chris Little, a former pitcher who was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2001, spent three years in their minor league system, and then spent seven more playing in the indies. He was born and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, attending Christian Brothers College High School in Town and Country, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. It would not be fair to say that Christian Little was a prodigy, but from an early age, he knew what he wanted to do, had his eye on the prize, and was simply better than everyone else around him. At just 14-years-old, he committed to Vanderbilt University, choosing them over the University of Miami, and he backed up his lofty intentions, getting it done on the field. As a sophomore, he posted a 1.88 ERA, striking out 58 batters and winning the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year Award. He did not get to pitch in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ended up not pitching for the Christian Brothers Cadets ever again. Using the forced shutdown of not only the baseball world, but the entire world, to his advantage, Little took on additional coursework and completed his high school requirements early, graduating early, and enrolling at Vandy to begin playing for them a year ahead of schedule.

Little made 14 appearances in his freshman year, starting 11 games, and at 17-years-old, became the youngest player ever to start a SEC game, and later on, became the youngest player ever to start a College World Series game. Pitching behind Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter, the freshman experienced some growing pains, posting a 5.48 ERA in 42.2 innings, allowing 40 hits, walking 22, and striking out 49. Following their departures, Little was expected to shoulder some of the burden of replacing them, but the right-hander was mainly used out of the bullpen instead. Appearing in 18 games, starting 3, he posted a 3.72 ERA in 38.2 innings, allowing 29 hits, walking 17, and striking out 46. He entered the transfer portal following the conclusion of the season and transferred to LSU.

Prior to the start of his first season with the Tigers, he pitched for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League, posting a 6.94 ERA in 11.2 innings over 5 appearances, allowing 13 hits, walking 5, and striking out 13. He also underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, an issue that he had been dealing with since his sophomore year of high school. In his first year with LSU, the 19-year-old posted a 7.79 ERA in 34.2 innings over 19 appearances, 8 of which were starts. He allowed 32 hits, walked 29, and struck out 42.

The right-hander has a solid 6’4”, 225-pound frame ideal for pitching. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, with a little bit of effort in his delivery. His primary pitch is a cutter, a pitch that sits in the high-80s-to-low-90s, that shows sharp, darting action. He uses the pitch against left-handers and right-handers, boring it in on their hands against the former and throwing it away to the latter. His fastball, a four-seam variant, averaged 94 MPH this past spring, topping out at 98 MPH. It features a high spin rate, giving it plus vertical break. Little also throws a high-70s curveball that features tight 11-5 break, but he does not use the pitch much, generally reserving it as a quick get-me-over pitch used early in the count every few batters. He occasionally throws a mid-80s slider with sweepy shape and a mid-80s changeup, but both pitches are rarely used.

Little has stated on record that he will be delaying the start of his professional career, despite being drafted, to return to LSU next season.