Posted by Stephen Guilbert at 1:00 PM
It's easy to get lost in the shuffle if you're a right-handed pitching prospect in the Mets system. However, if your name is Michael Fulmer, you shouldn't. Not with what he's currently doing.
Here's what he's doing: Hitting 99 MPH regularly with his fastball, not walking anyone, striking out a boatload of guys and manhandling Double-A...the league that most often separates the real talent from the role player or career minor leaguer types.
The Mets drafted Michael Fulmer out of high school in Oklahoma in 2011, the same draft that produced OF prospect Brandon Nimmo. He was a supplemental first round pick (#44) as compensation for the Mets losing Pedro Feliciano to the Yankees (We'll take that, huh?). I remember Fulmer from that draft as being distant third in the hard-throwing Oklahoma trio in that draft along with top-10 selections Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley. While Bundy and Bradley deservedly got the hype, Fulmer was no slouch, either.
The Mets worked him through the system quickly, showing faith in the tall, stocky, young right-hander. Repetitive knee injuries that nagged at Fulmer held him back the past couple years but now he is healthy, throwing hard and the results are ridiculous:
2015: Binghamton Mets- Michael Fulmer Stats: 57 IP, 18 BB, 48 K, 2.37 ERA, 49H, 1.18 WHIP.
Fulmer also had a rocky start to 2015. In his past five starts spanning the past four weeks, Fulmer has allowed one earned run. Yes, one. He has one win to show for his efforts. His K:BB ratio over those starts is 31:4. Last night, Fulmer went seven innings allowing one unearned run, struck out nine, walked none, allowed just three hits and took the loss. Yes, yes, I would say he's getting a good lesson on what it will be like to be a starting pitcher for the New York Mets.
How Michael Fulmer has achieved this success is just as important as the fact that he is having this success, though, and he's doing it with a big fastball. In his start last week, he touched 99 MPH a handful of times. During last night's game, this was reported from the first inning:
Along with the big fastball, Fulmer also throws a two-seamer with plus-to-plus-plus velocity (go figure), a good slider, a curve he stays away from for arm health reasons and a change that was not all that impressive the last time I saw it. Considering his success, my guess is that the change has come a long way in the past couple seasons.
It is easy to forget about a player like Michael Fulmer but fans shouldn't. This is a first round pick. This is arm strength that only a handful of people on the planet possess. This is near-100 MPH with location. This is the best pitching prospect in the Mets system right now after LHP Steven Matz' promotion. Keep an eye on him. He's healthy and he's eating up the Eastern League.