After watching Yoenis Cespedes launch 23 home runs in 73 games in a Mets Uniform, including his pinch hit game-tying blast on Tuesday night against the Reds, Mets fans are well acquainted with the return from last summer's trade with the Tigers. But on Friday evening, they'll get a glimpse of what Sandy Alderson gave up to net their star slugger.
Michael Fulmer, Alderson's second ever pick as Mets GM back in 2011, will make his major league debut for the Tigers when they take on the Twins tonight. Coincidentally, he will replace another former Met in Detroit's rotation: Mike Pelfrey, who started the season 0-4 in four starts, with more walks than strikeouts.
Fulmer, 23, had a 4.70 ERA in three Triple-A starts in 2016, but with elite peripherals: 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings and just 2.9 walks per nine innings. Baseball America ranked him 48th on their annual top 100 prospect list entering the season after the right-hander had a 2.74 ERA between the Tigers and Mets farms systems in 2015. Other evaluators placed him similarly.
Relying on a 91-94 MPH fastball with hard sink and a power slider, Fulmer is one of the few power pitchers to have escaped New York in recent years. Fulmer should have a chance to shine against the Twins, who have scored the third-fewest runs per game in the American League this season.
From Baseball America:
Fulmer has a chance to develop into a No. 3 starter and could emerge in that role right away, though a safer bet would have him a notch below that, especially as he continues to develop his changeup. Despite his limited Triple-A time, Fulmer has the upside to get off to a fast start and upgrade Detroit’s rotation, though it bears watching how he will hold up later in the season and how the Tigers will handle his workload at that point given his history.
Luis Cessa, the secondary chip given up in the Cespedes trade, has a 3.97 ERA in 11.1 innings this season for the Yankees' Triple-A club. The Tigers traded him to the Bronx as part of a package for Justin Wilson five months after acquiring the right-hander from Queens.