David Price sees what Carson Fulmer did at their alma mater and believes the White Sox first-rounder doesn’t need much time in the minors.
Fulmer -- who the White Sox selected out of Vanderbilt with the eighth pick in last month’s draft -- is set to make his professional debut on Saturday in the Arizona Rookie League and could be headed to Single-A Winston-Salem shortly thereafter.
A former Commodore who still has close ties to his old program, Price is extremely familiar with Fulmer and believes the White Sox were smart with their pick.
“He was the Triple Crown winner,” Price said earlier this week at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati. “That doesn’t happen like that.
“He could throw in a lot of major league bullpens right now and make them better. Just depending on what they want to do with him, I know he’s open for whatever. He’s going to make their team better at some point.”
Like many former Vanderbilt players, Price returns to the college in the offseason to work out with the current team. The Detroit Tigers ace has known Fulmer for three years and even joined the team on an offday during its College World Series run last month. Price said those return trips helps current players form a bond with alumni and he often interacted with Fulmer throughout his season in the spotlight. Fulmer went 14-2 with a 1.83 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings this season for the Commodores, the CWS runner-up.
“For him to be able to do that knowing he was a top-10 pick all year long, that lets you know he put all that to the side,” Price said. “He didn’t worry about it. He had a couple of bad games early in the year and I would always talk to him about it and he’d come back the next Friday and he would dominate. When you see a guy like that, the position he’s in, that lets you know how focused he is and that’s good to see that.”
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The White Sox don’t quite have Fulmer’s 2015 plan mapped out, Hahn said. They have a sketch, but because Fulmer threw roughly 30 more innings than Carlos Rodon did at North Carolina State in 2014, he’s likely to work less the rest of the summer.
“(The work is) going to play a role in how far and how deep he pitches this season,” Hahn said. “But he's similar from an ability standpoint and the chance to move quickly.”
Price agrees with the organization’s assessment of Fulmer -- as good of a pitcher as he is, “he’s a better teammate and a better person,” Price said. Fulmer’s “team-first” attitude could come into play were the White Sox to make him a reliever to start his career; the right-hander wants to prove he’s a starting pitcher. Either way, Price, who made his major league debut 15 months after he was the No. 1 pick of the 2007 draft, doesn’t think it’d be long before Fulmer’s here.
“Absolutely,” Price said. “Depending on whatever they want to do with him, if they want him to be a starter or be a reliever, I could see him doing something similar to what I did in 2008.”