Height/Weight: 5‘11”, 195
Previously Drafted: 2012 – Rd 15 (481) by Boston Red Sox
Had a plus fastball that touched 96 with hard slider. Was described as being “strong and durable” with a “maximum-effort delivery” by MLB.com. He was one of the top high school arms in the 2012 draft, but fell to the 15th round due to being deemed unsignable.
Fulmer is on the smaller side. He’s listed at 6’0” on his Vanderbilt player page, but those measurements are usually quite generous. He still features the max-effort delivery that he had in high school, though it has reportedly been toned down some since then. He also still features electric arm speed, with Baseball America writing that he “regularly reach[es] 97 mph, and he holds his velocity deep into games.” They also note his potential for a plus curve and above average change, and state that Fulmer “earns praise for his makeup and work ethic.”
Kiley McDaniel at FanGraphs gives a similar review of Fulmer’s stuff as Baseball America but also adds “There’s some effort to the delivery, but he’s never been hurt, goes deep in games, has succeeded hugely as a starter and reliever at the highest amateur levels, is hyper-aggressive and strong-bodied”. The fact that he’s never been hurt is a big positive. It has been shown that having a prior injury will increase a pitchers chance of future injury, and therefore Fulmer’s health should lessen the concerns that some have about his max-effort delivery.
“Fulmer has an electric arm that delivers 93-97-mph fastballs and power breaking balls. His changeup is an effective third pitch and coaches and scouts alike rave about his competitive makeup. Some scouts think he’d be best off channeling his energy into becoming a closer because he lacks size, his delivery features effort and his control can get wobbly at times.” –MLB.com
“The talent is obviously first-class, 92-96 MPH with movement, strong curveball, solid change-up, strong command, great mound presence. There are two issues with Fulmer: his size and his delivery.” –John Sickels, Minor League Ball
Note: these grades are my summations based on all readily available scouting information from sources such as Baseball America, MLB.com and ESPN (Present/Future, 20-80 scale):
Prospect Overview and Future Outlook:
The Sox are reported to be on Carson Fulmer, with Keith Law recently stating that he is one of their top targets. There have also been multiple rumors that the Sox are looking to take a college pitcher with their first pick who can get to the Majors quickly and fit in with the current core, and Fulmer certainly fits that bill.
If all goes to plan for Fulmer he could feature three above average pitches with average command. His fastball has excellent velocity and movement, giving it a chance to be a real weapon, and his curve could be a plus pitch too. Those who like him see a potential #2/3 starter who shouldn’t need a lot of time in the Minors. Others look at his size, delivery and shaky command and say he’s destined for the bullpen. Fulmer is high on my personal wish list. I like his raw stuff and upside over the likes of Kyle Funkhouser, Walker Buehler and Jon Harris. The White Sox have not been afraid to draft pitchers that have been knocked for their size and/or delivery in the past (see Sale, Chris and Danish, Tyler), and it has worked very well for them thus far. I trust the Sox ability to oversee Fulmer’s development, and feel good about him becoming at least a solid mid rotation starter with this organization.
Fulmer has been one of the best pitchers in college this year, and his draft stock continues to rise (even though he did get rocked in his last start, serving up three home runs against Texas A&M). His K/9 has jumped from 9.40 in 2014 to 12.42 this year, and he is walking fewer batters, with his BB/9 falling from 4.05 to 3.48. There is no guarantee that he will reach the Sox at #8, but he would provide good value at that spot, with Baseball America and Kiley McDaniel both ranking him at their #6 prospect in the class, and MLB.com their #7 prospect. Fulmer has often been compared to another small righty, and former Vanderbilt ace, Sonny Gray.
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