The first directive Carson Fulmer received upon joining the White Sox was to do nothing.
Fulmer, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, signed with the White Sox on Friday for a slot-value $3,470,600 bonus. The organization thinks the Vanderbilt right-hander has the potential to be put on the major league fast track, but first, they want him to rest up.
In his junior year at Vanderbilt, Fulmer threw 127 2/3 innings (with a 1.83 ERA and 167 strikeouts). The White Sox don’t want to wear out the 21-year-old, who last pitched in the College World Series finals June 22, so they’re going to give him some time off before likely sending him to Arizona to resume baseball activities.
“We'll see how he adapts, there is no rush or no urgency to move quickly,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “He certainly has the talent and the makeup to potentially to move quickly, but at this time it's let's just get him acclimated to pro ball, and adapt accordingly as he proceeds through the system.”
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Carlos Rodon reached Triple-A after being taken third overall in 2014, while Chris Sale rocketed through the White Sox farm system and to the major leagues back in 2010. The White Sox feel Fulmer has the makeup and repertoire — a mid-90’s fastball and plus curveball — to force his way into the 25-man roster discussion.
Fulmer, though, doesn’t plan to focus on the big picture once he starts pitching in the farm system.
“In certain ways you gotta be patient,” Fulmer said. “Obviously the White Sox have a plan, I’m a part of the organization now, I just have to sit back and try to develop as much as I can as a player and just let them control it. All I can go out and do is compete and try to give my team the best chance to win. But in regard to moving up and trying to get through the organization as fast as possible, it’s out of my control and I’m just going to do whatever it takes to help us win.”
Fulmer — who, like Chris Sale, is a native of Lakeland, Fla. — is well aware of the White Sox success developing pitching, which recently has included Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon. Not only have all three of those pitchers shown varying levels of effectiveness in their careers, they all reached the major leagues quickly after joining the organization.
Perhaps Fulmer becomes the next prospect to whiz through the White Sox mind league ranks to U.S. Cellular Field. But for now, the White Sox are going to take his development process slow.
“We're looking long term with this kid,” Hahn said. “Obviously he is an important piece for us for the future. And we're certainly not going to rush him. There is no specific time frame for him to get to the majors. We're just going to respond to his ability.”