Carson Fulmer didn't exactly set the world on fire in Triple-A Charlotte this year, but with the White Sox trading away multiple starting pitchers and with Carlos Rodon out with an injury, he's getting a chance with the big league club.
After a first start to forget on Aug. 21, Fulmer has been much better since being called back up as rosters expanded in September. Fulmer delivered a second straight quality start in Friday's 3-2 loss to the Tigers.
He gave up one run on four hits and a walk while striking out five in six innings. In his last two starts he has pitched 12 innings, gave up one run, four walks and seven hits while striking out 14.
So what's different?
"He's working a lot quicker," Bill Melton said on White Sox Postgame Live. "He's a little more controlled.
"When you watch him pitch now, he works the game."
Fulmer, 23, had a 5.79 ERA in 25 starts in Triple-A this season. Walks were a big problem with 65 in 126 innings.
Fulmer got to make his first big league start in late August as part of a doubleheader and it didn't go well. He gave up six runs and three walks in 1 1/3 innings and was sent back to Charlotte.
Since rejoining the White Sox Fulmer has made two bullpen appearances and these last two starts. He has a 1.69 ERA in September in 10 2/3 innings and Friday's start was his best outing as far as control is concerned with the one walk.
"This is totally different," Melton said. "Whatever Don Cooper has done with him, he's absorbed. We heard he was a smart kid and he's a No. 1 pick. Even in the minor leagues he was walking everybody and getting hit. Something happened, something clicked. Maybe it's confidence. The first game he came back, he came out of the bullpen, threw really well. Then they gave him a start, threw really well. Another start, threw really well."
While Fulmer has been producing lately, it will not be easy to earn a spot in the White Sox rotation next year with young starters Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito sure to earn spots alongside more experienced starters in Rodon and James Shields. Maybe Fulmer can lock down that fifth spot and the White Sox are watching his play in September to see what they have in the right-hander.
"He is a really competitive guy," Chuck Garfien said in the video above. "Something tells me he has been hearing for the last five, six weeks 'Fulmer is going to go to the bullpen eventually, he's going to go to the bullpen eventually.'
"He wants to be a starter. I bet he heard all this and he's like 'You know what, I'm going to show these guys I belong in the rotation' and he's looking like it right now."
Watch the video above from Postgame Live to see the full discussion on Fulmer from Melton and Garfien.