MMs Top 25: #19 RHSP Michael Fulmer

#19 RHSP Michael Fulmer (LR#12)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 200 lb
Age: 22
Acquired: 2011 Rule IV draft, 1st round,  Deer Creek HS (Edmond, OK)

2014: (A+) 6-11, 4.39 ERA, 98.1 IP, 8.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.546 WHIP
2013: (A+) 3-3, 3.33 ERA, 46.0 IP, 8.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.130 WHIP
2012: (A) 7-6, 2.74 ERA, 108.1 IP, 8.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.200 WHIP
2011: (Rk) 0-1, 10.12 ERA, 5.1 IP, 16.9 K/9, 6.8 BB/9, 2.438 WHIP

     For every riser on a prospect list....there is a faller. The next three guys on this list posted extremely disappointing results in 2014 but still have the tools to develop into MLB contributors if they can right their career ships. First on the list is the oft-injured, former 1st round pick, Michael Fulmer.

     Since his stellar 2012 season with the Savannah Sand Gnats that put him on the high end of the prospect radar, Fulmer has been struggling to stay healthy and has been losing valuable development time. In 2013, Fulmer suffered a torn meniscus during Spring Training which delayed the start of his season until the short season leagues started in late June. He was able to make 9 relatively good starts before a come-backer off the bat of Casey Kotchman struck Fulmer in shoulder/bicep area. The area bruised up pretty good and then developed tendonitis which caused the Mets to worry enough to place Fulmer on the DL for the rest of the season.

     2014 started much better in terms of health but all the lost time pitching in 2013 caused Fulmer's "stuff" to regress. His fastball became much more hittable and his breaking pitches kind of flattened out. This caused opponents batting averages against him to skyrocket from a solid .227 Avg to an unsightly .289 Avg. You can possibly attribute it to his discomfort landing on his surgically repaired knee, but, one would expect progression as the season went along which he did not show. Fulmer also developed some stark Lefty/Righty splits (.230 avg vs.R./.338 avg vs. L) during 2014 which could seriously jeopardize his ability to remain a starter. To make matters worse, Fulmer couldn't even finish the season as he landed on the DL again, this time for a shoulder strain he sustained in mid-August.

     Despite all that, Fulmer is still a solid prospect who could turn it around and have a dominant 2015. He still possesses a plus fastball that sits between 93-95 mph that has some decently heavy sink. His primary secondary pitch is his slider which scouts believe can develop into an MLB average offering. Currently the slider is his primary weapon against right handers but he lacks an effective secondary pitch to use against lefties as evidenced by his splits. Developing his change-up some more could help mitigate that split but currently the pitch is a below average "40 grade" offering. Working heavily with the change-up guru, Frank Viola, could pay huge dividends for Fulmer this Spring Training.     

     I hate to use the term "make or break" in reference to prospects development, since anyone can breakout at any time in their individual careers, but 2015 is going to be an extremely important season for Fulmer. He needs to prove that he's fully healthy and he needs to progress his stuff to the next level. With Syndergaard and Matz nearing promotion Fulmer is the highest on the food chain in terms of arms with upside. He'll need to step up if the Mets wish to hold their rank as one of the best farm systems in baseball. 

Ceiling: #4/#5 Back End MLB SP (Charlie Morton)
Floor: Medium Leverage ROOGY
Anticipated Assignment: (AA) Binghamton Starting Rotation.


Anonymous said...

I was quite hopeful about this guy two years ago. Now I'm just watching with fingers crossed. He needs full year throwing the damn ball.

James Preller

Thomas Brennan said...

Let's hope Fulmer is resurrected,good health and improving on his weaknesses. If he does fall by the wayside, at least we're still flush with pitching,but a big turnaround would make a fine story.

Charles said...

After Savannah, I thought he was destined to join a power rotation with Harvey, Wheeler, and Thor. Then he hurt his knee and the stuff or results just haven't been the same.

Now that deGrom has stepped up and Thor and Matz are half a season from pushing the last two vets from the rotation, Fulmer is pitching for a spot in the bullpen or another team's rotation.

I really hope he reaches his ceiling, but a nice floor is just as good when it comes to the Mets due to their pitching.

This year will tell a lot.

I bet Mateo is one of the two next prospects on the list...

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