The White Sox on Monday selected right-hander Carson Fulmer with the eighth overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Fulmer is the staff ace at Vanderbilt, which won the 2014 College World Series and is headed back to Omaha after defeating Illinois in the super regional in Champaign this week. Fulmer was the winning pitcher in Vanderbilt's 13-0 win on Saturday.
For the season, Fulmer is 13-2 with a 1.82 ERA in 17 starts. He has fanned 152 hitters in 114 innings. Fulmer's fastball sits at 93-96 miles per hour, and his breaking ball is his strikeout pitch. Some scouts consider him to be the best pitcher in the college game this year, but there are question marks about his unorthodox delivery and frame.
Fulmer is 6 feet, 195 pounds. He doesn't fit the 6-foot-4 prototype that scouts drool over these days, so expect to hear questions about his durability. Some believe he projects as a relief pitcher for just that reason.
Of course, White Sox fans have heard that one before. Many scouts pegged Chris Sale as a relief pitcher because of his relatively slight frame and unorthodox delivery. The Sox, of course, made him a starter and have gotten three and a half years of excellent work from Sale in their rotation.
We'll see what the future holds for Fulmer. It might take a little while for the Sox to get him signed. They can't negotiate with him until the College World Series ends, and Vanderbilt might be playing in that all the way to the end.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Friday, June 6, 2014
Accordingly, the White Sox had the No. 3 overall pick as a result a disastrous 2013 campaign, and on Thursday they used it to select pitcher Carlos Rodon, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound left-hander out of North Carolina State.
Rodon came into the spring as the consensus top prospect in the draft. An inconsistent college season caused his stock to slip slightly, but the Sox were obviously unmoved. Rodon was widely considered the best college pitcher in the draft, and quite possibly, the most major league ready pitcher in the draft.
The left-hander has a fastball that sits in the mid- to low-90s consistently and can occasionally touch 96 or 97 mph. But it is his slider that might get him to the big leagues quickly.
"When they can bury a slider on the back foot of a right-handed hitter and get it in under his hands, then you know a guy has a really good one," White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann told MLB.com. "It's a dominant pitch. That's not to take away anything from his fastball and changeup, which are also plus pitches."
Rodon was overpowering during his 2013 sophomore campaign at N.C. State, going 10-3 with a 2.99 ERA and racking up 184 strikeouts against just 45 walks in 132.1 innings. This spring, his junior season was considered not quite as strong, but the numbers still look good despite a mediocre 6-7 won-loss record. Rodon posted a 2.01 ERA and fanned 117 against 31 walks in 98.2 innings.
As with all prospects, it's impossible to know for certain how Rodon will do once he signs a contract and joins the White Sox organization, but the team was smart to draft pitching in the first round. The Sox have a couple holes in their big-league rotation now, and aside from the struggling Erik Johnson, they don't have a lot of starting pitchers on the farm who are close to big-league ready.
Some say Rodon might be in the majors before this year is over, possibly in a situational relief role. Thinking optimistically, perhaps he could challenge for a rotation spot sometime in 2015.
If he does crack the rotation sometime before 2016, that would give the Sox four left-handed starting pitchers -- with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks already in place.
For some reason, the idea of having four left-handed starters is a source of much consternation among Chicago media. I fail to see why that's a big deal. When the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, four of their five starting pitchers were right-handed. In fact, quite a few teams have four right-handers in their rotation. If a team has four lefties, so what? How is that different and what's the big deal?
Just find me five guys who can pitch. I don't care if they are left-handed or right-handed.
Speaking of right-handed pitchers, the Sox used their second-round selection on Spencer Adams from White County High School in Georgia.
Adams was ranked the 27th-best prospect by MLB and 21st-best prospect by Baseball America, so the Sox probably felt fortunate to see him available at No. 44 overall.
The right-hander has mid-90s fastball. The slider is his second-best pitch. He also features a curveball and a changeup.
The First-Year Player Draft continues Friday with Rounds 3 through 10. The event concludes Saturday with Rounds 10 through 40.