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Scouting Report on Mets' Sandwich Pick Michael Fulmer

With the 44th pick the Mets grabbed another guy who might be tough to sign in Oklahoma prep righty Michael Fulmer. Fulmer has a commitment to Arkansas, and the team will have to buy him out of that commitment. I haven't heard any specifics, but it's unlikely that he'd be a bargain.

Fulmer is an attractive combination of stuff and polish. After a velocity bump this past spring, Fulmer is now throwing in the low-90s and can touch 95 from time to time. With a 6-3, 200-lb. frame, he might have a little bit more projection left in the tank, but the body is pretty mature right now. He's actually bordering on soft-bodied, and conditioning will be important for him going forward. In addition to the fastball, he throws a curve (which I've also seen referred to as a slider) and a changeup. While Fulmer's coaches even refer to the pitch as a slider, it acts more like a curve, but whatever you call it, it's impressive. He throws it with tight rotation and it has big downward break, coming in around 78. Even better: he can throw the pitch for strikes. He also has a changeup, but that's pretty much a non-factor right now, as is common with high school arms. But despite that, it's rare to see a prep curve ball as consistent as Fulmer's and it implies that he might move a little faster than most high school arms.

Command is generally positive also, though he needs to watch his striding foot and keep it directed toward the plate. At times he'll drift open, which will cause him to miss with his pitches. But he ususually spots pretty well. However, he may have another mechanical error or two, specifically with regard to his timing. Keith Law has pointed out that Fulmer doesn't get his weight over his striding leg until well after his release. I think he's right. What this means is that, while Fulmer takes a nice, healthy stride, he's not letting that forward momentum carry his weight over that front leg, which would accelerate the arm along with the body. Instead, the velocity he's creating is actually coming solely from the shoulder instead. This may cause velocity dips at times. On the positive side, the arm action is clean, and with tighter mechanics, he'd have a clean bill of health.

Provided he does stay healthy, Fulmer has the ceiling of a third starter, perhaps a two if everything goes right, but that's an unreasonable expectation. That fastball-curve combination should result in a moderate number of strikeouts, he should have at least average command in the future, and he's durable enough to eat innings.