2. Carson Fulmer, RHP White Sox
Fulmer is a former Top 10 selection in the MLB draft who has good, raw stuff but no idea where it is going. In limited opportunities in 2019, Fulmer posted a 6.26 ERA, a 6.29 FIP, a 6.59 BB/9, and a 17% HR/FB rate. He was a little better in AAA but still struggled with walks.
So why the interest in Fulmer? Well, first and foremost, he can spin the baseball. His average fastball velocity of 93.6 ranks in the 25th percentile, but the pitches spin rate ranks in the 91st percentile. Fulmer can also spin a curveball, ranking in the 88th percentile in curveball spin.
Seattle has targeted fastball spin rates in the past and Fulmer checks that box. Dipoto likes to target former highly-touted prospects. Fulmer checks that box. Dipoto also likes to target guys with control issues. Yeah, that’s a big old checkmark.
Fulmer can’t help any club until he gets his command into the universe of acceptable. But a team like the Mariners, with no playoff aspirations, is much more likely to give him a shot to figure it out.
Fulmer’s expected batting average and expected slugging percentage on both his fastball and cutter showed a bit of bad luck in 2019. The pitch info also suggests that Fulmer could benefit from a pitch mix change. His curveball and changeup were much better than his fastball and cutter in 2019.
But the changeup wasn’t great in 2018. However, the curveball has been a good offering of his for the past 3 seasons, yet he throws it less than his other offerings. The spin rate backs it up as a solid offering, but perhaps the consistently falling behind in counts has neutered the pitch.
Either way, Fulmer checks a lot of boxes that Dipoto has looked for in the past year to fill out his bullpen. He won’t cost anything but a roster spot, but unless the Mariners thinks he can throw more strikes, he won’t even be worth that.