It didn’t take but around a month, but the Chicago White Sox have signed first round pick, right-hander Carson Fulmer to a minor league contract.
In a release by the White Sox on Friday, Fulmer (who was the eighth overall selection in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft) was said to signed a MiLB contract, along with a $3,470,600-million signing bonus.
Fulmer said this in the release provided by the White Sox:
"“I’m thrilled to start my professional career with the White Sox,” said Fulmer. “It’s exciting to join an organization with such a great track record of developing pitching. I cannot wait to get started.”"
MLB.com wrote this in a scouting report on the newest pitcher in the White Sox organization:
"“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.”"
Considering his talent, the deal for Fulmer is a good one for both sides, and just imagine if he and last year’s first round selection Carlos Rodon (the third overall selection in ’14) become a pitching duo for the “Good Guys.” They wouldn’t be Batman and Robin, but more like Batman and Superman if both pan out to their full potential.
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The lefty Rodon is already in the majors, after spending less than a full season in the minors, and Fulmer has said he wants that same type of path to the majors.
Looking at Rodon’s numbers in the majors thus far, he’s 3-1 with a 4.07 ERA with 55 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.64. For a rookie those are very good numbers. In 55.1 innings, Rodon has walked just 31 batters and has made nine starts (15 appearances).
Before reaching the majors, Rodon pitched at the rookie level, Advanced Single-A, and Triple-A in Charlotte with the Knights. Rodon bypassed the Double-A level during his inaugural MiLB season in ’14 after being drafted out of North Carolina State.
Let’s hope Fulmer can as well, because if the White Sox can have starting pitching consisting of not only Fulmer, Rodon and the current ace Chris Sale, but still have Jose Quintana and most likely John Danks in a contract year as the fifth starter in ’16, they would be a tough out most nights. (It is all but a given Jeff Samardzija will not be in the rotation in ’16).
But that is a long way down the road, and by then a lot could change for the White Sox. But remember in 2005 how the White Sox won with great pitching, the difference between then and the current White Sox was the World Champion White Sox club gave their pitchers run support, the current version of the White Sox not so much.
Jun 25, 2014; Omaha, NE, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores pitcher Carson Fulmer (15) pitches against the Virginia Cavaliers during game three of the College World Series Finals at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
But back to Fulmer, being just 21-years old, the righty was the SEC Pitcher of the Year, a first-team All-America selection by Baseball America, and named the National Pitcher of the Year (College Baseball Hall of Fame).
Fulmer earned those accolades with a 14-2 record (1.83 ERA) while pitching for Vanderbilt, a team who reached the finals of the College World Series. In his 127.2 innings pitched, Fulmer allowed just 26 earned runs, and tallied 167 strikeouts.
The opposition batted .180 against him, and that’s saying something pitching in the SEC.
Having numbers like those at the collegiate level doesn’t mean the same success in the minors or even the majors, but with what seems to most likely to be another rebuild around the big pieces of the White Sox roster, Fulmer will one day be a big reason if the White Sox succeed or continue their losing ways in the future.
I do believe he’ll be in the starting rotation (if all goes well) some time during the ’16 season, but for right now there is no reason to rush his progress. Currently the White Sox are a long ways away from the postseason, being last place in the AL Central, and entering Friday’s game vs. the Baltimore Orioles have a record of 34-42, 10 games out of first place.
Chicago still has the worst record in the AL as well, as they are 6.5 games back in the AL Wild Card race.
What I like about Fulmer is the fact he’s proven at the collegiate level he can deal when all the pressure is on the line. Don’t believe me, look at the film from his College World Series Final game from June and you can see just how good of a pitcher he is.
White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn is also high on the RHP prospect, with this to say via release by the White Sox following the completion of the deal:
"“We are pleased to get Carson signed and into the organization quickly to start his professional career,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “Carson has been among the elite college pitchers each of the last two seasons – pitching the Commodores to a championship in 2014 and a runner-up finish in 2015. He is a winner who has impressed us with his leadership and character both on and off the baseball diamond.”"
Fulmer is also a standup person as well, with the prospect donating $10,000 of his contract to the White Sox Charities that will support five players in the ACE program.
Just like with Rodon last year, I can’t wait to see what Fulmer can bring to the White Sox. He’s a proven winner (24-3, 1.99 ERA in three college seasons), has a good head on his shoulders (SEC Academic Honor Roll) and knows how to play the game of baseball.
Eventually he’ll be a very good addition to the White Sox, but now we just sit and wait, and hopeful his eventual arrival will help push the White Sox back on the right path.