Michael Fulmer has not had an easy path to the big leagues. Since hurling over 100 innings in his first full professional season, Fulmer has seen his past two seasons end early with injuries. 2015 has thus far been a different story. He may have changed teams at the trade deadline, but the results have looked the same.
Fulmer was drafted in the first round — 44th overall — by the New York Mets in 2011. The 6 foot 3, 200 pound righty has made all but one professional appearance as a stating pitcher. Due to injuries and durability, starting with a bum knee in 2013 and ending with bone spurs in his elbow in 2014, some began to feel that Fulmer was heading for a future in the bullpen.
The 22-year old has certainly made a case to be a back end of the rotation arm with his 2015 performance. Fulmer was lights out for the Binghamton Mets, going 6-2 over 15 starts posting a 1.88 ERA, 1.12 WHIP with 83 strikeouts and 23 walks over 86 innings. An impressive 23.8-percent strikeout rate paired with 6.6-percent walk rate has eliminated some doubts as to whether he could improve his early career command problems.
Watch Fulmer freeze elite shortstop prospect Trea Turner earlier in June:
Fulmer was still widely considered a top 20 Mets prospect, but with the bevy of successful young arms ahead of him, he became trade bait. Fulmer was part of the deal that brought Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers to the Mets. His success has continued with his new organization.
Fulmer’s first start with his new team, the Erie SeaWolves, was more of the same. He went 6.2 strong innings, landing 65-percent of his pitches for strikes. Fulmer struck out six and walked just two, posting his third consecutive start without allowing a run. He’s struck out 24 while walking just three over the same span. Fulmer has been in the proverbial zone.
Is Fulmer’s stuff good enough to stick as a starter in the big leagues? At just 22 and having not pitched at Triple-A, your guess is as good as mine, but his arsenal seems to be deep enough to stick.
His fastball hits 95 pretty consistently, and topped out at 97 in his last start. Fulmer has two average breaking pitches. His slider is sharp and ready for any level, and the curve is a work in progress, but seems to be close to the zone more often than not. He also features a changeup, but that pans out as his lowest graded pitch in his arsenal. Should he be able to harness the command of a changeup, it could compliment that gas quite nicely.
Watch him completely fool the batter on his last strikeout of his SeaWolves debut:
It seems Fulmer is MLB bound, being most likely a year away. His health seems to be the strongest determinant in his future because his two full seasons have been rather impressive. Right now, it’s hard to argue that there isn’t a spot waiting for Fulmer in Detroit’s future rotation.