White Sox: Can Carson Fulmer Contribute in 2017?

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Mar 5, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carson Fulmer (80) pitches during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carson Fulmer (80) pitches during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Carson Fulmer could be a key cog for the pitching staff next season. The White Sox definitely need the young right handler to contribute in 2017.

The Chicago White Sox got their first taste of 2015 first round pick Carson Fulmer. He pitched well in the minors and earned a call up in July. Despite being pegged as a starter, the  Sox had him pitch out of the bullpen. He first taste of the big leagues yielded mixed results. In eight appearances, he went 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA. He allowed 12 hits in 11.2 innings and walked seven.

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The Sox then made the decision to send him back down to Triple A, in order to stretch him out. That would mean they envisioned him as a starter. The organization decided to leave him in the minors rather than make him a September call up. It’s likely we’ll see him back during spring training, fighting for a rotation spot.

I would think he’ll be in competition with James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez for the final two rotation spots. It’s possible, depending on how the offseason plays out, there could be a third spot up for grabs. Chris Sale would need to be traded for that to happen. James Shields is being paid $11 million next season meaning it may be hard for the team to justify putting him in the bullpen. That means it may be down to Gonzalez and Fulmer for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Fulmer definitely had a rough time this season, but he does have a lot of upside. Breaking camp with the team would allow him to work more closely with Don Cooper. If there’s one thing this organization has done well at, it’s been developing starting pitching. With the help of Coop and gaining more experience, there’s no reason why he couldn’t contribute in the rotation.

There would definitely be some growing pains, but once they commit to it, they can’t go back. That means if the front office and coaching staff envision him as a starter, he needs to start. Nothing would be worse than shifting him back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation or from the big leagues to the minors.

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The Sox would be best served letting the youngster gain that experience and work things out, to a certain extent. Fulmer is a great talent and definitely has a bright future ahead of him. It should be fun watching this guy develop over the next few seasons. There’s no reason he can’t be a front-line starter for years to come.

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