(Check the FanPosts for other prospect game reports by AyatollahTLC. -- James)
As the Mets did battle with the Braves Monday Night, 45 Miles to the Northeast of Atlanta, Mets prospect Michael Fulmer was making his second Sally league in front of a sparse, rain logged Rome, Ga. crowd. Although he did not record the win, Fulmer showcased skills that makes him a prospect to keep an eye on.Before getting to Fulmer's performance, let me introduce myself. My name is Chris Blessing and I've been writing about prospects sporadically for the past few seasons. You may have read my FanPosts last season on Aderlin Rodriguez and Erik Goeddel here at Amazin' Avenue, maybe checked out a piece or two at Metsgeek that Eric and the guys linked to in an Applesauce or seen one of the articles I've written for Mike Newman's Scouting the Sally. Anyway, I decided this past offseason to concentrate regularly posting fresh content; however, with my friend Mike moving onto a much deserved gig at FanGraphs late last season, I really had no where to call home. Enter SB Nation FanPosts and the various club sites. I figure where better to post regular content without having to worry about people reading it. So far this young season, I've posted content on Bleed Cubbie Blue and South Side Sox and I look forward to expanding my reach to as many club sites as possible.
I spent the past three games, camera in tow, radar gun in sight, and pen in hand,watching four specific Mets prospects, Jack Leathersich, Logan Verrett, Rafael Montero and Michael Fulmer. I hopefully have enough to write scouting reports on all four guys; however, due to a malfunction with the stadium's lighting that suspended the second game of the series, I may not have enough information to do a fair job of reporting on Logan Verrett. I'll still post my video of him if I'm unable to write a game report. Now, onto Michael Fulmer.
Fulmer may have the most mature body of a teenage pitcher I've seen in my 6 plus years of attending South Atlantic League baseball games. Most high school draftees I've seen in the Appy league and the Sally league tend to be on the scrawny side. I'm not even close to an expert on mechanics; however, I did notice that Fulmer is under-utilizing the power in his legs, generating a lot of his power from his shoulder, which can be corrected through repetation. Reading the scouting report Alex Nelson wrote after the Mets drafted Fulmer last year, Alex saw the same flaw. So I feel pretty confident pointing it out again. The kid has tree trunks for legs, legs that can take a lot of strain of his arm as he progresses through the system. At least he doesn't look like he's trying to dislocate his shoulder on every pitch like a lot of teenage pitchers who have not yet mastered the importance of relying on their legs to generate strength. With repetition and good coaching, this shouldn't be a long term concern.
Fastball: Fulmer's fastball sat in the low 90's for most of the game, touching 94 on occasion. Even towards the end of his outing, he was still consistently throwing the ball 90-91. I think Fulmer would tell you that he didn't have his best fastball with him Monday night, especially in the third inning when it seemed to briefly flatten out. This was not like most Sally League youngsters who can't command their pitchers regularly, this was more like a guy who just didn't have the command he wanted and was use to. He battled and probably threw about 20 to 25 more pitches than he wanted to, trying to gut it out with not his best stuff. I'll let the film do the talking for the type of movement Fulmer was generating. It was great to see him get into the kitchen of righthanded hitters and frustrate them.
Curve & Slider: I thought he threw both pitches during the start and I liked what I saw from each pitch. The few curves I had velocity readings for were in the 76-78 range. The pitches I believed to be sliders were in the 84-86 range. I was fortune enough to capture some of his better breaking pitches. There was a back door breaking ball to the second hitter that was perfectly placed and straight up nasty for a major leaguer to pull the string on, yet alone a 19-year-old kid in the sally.
Changeup: He worked this pitch in briefly. My favorite line in the low A's is that the pitch is a "Work in Progress." Watching this guy pitch, I really believe he can develop a workable change, especially once his power shifts away from his shoulder and more to his legs. I did not record any velocity readings on this pitch.
I really enjoyed watching Fulmer pitch. He has a good idea already on what will make him successful. He pitched to the corners and tried to change eye levels. There are 23-year-olds in Double-A that are being held back because they don't realize how important changing eye level if hitters is and this guy here in the Sally is already exhibiting that behavior. I think that he'll someday slot in as a mid-rotation type. He'll certainly be fun to track over the next few years as he makes his climb up the system.
Mets Prospect Michael Fulmer (via MetsgeekTV)