Chris Sale forged the fast-track route from Lakeland, Fla. to the major leagues five years ago, and Carson Fulmer is well aware of it.
Like Sale, Fulmer — selected eighth overall by the White Sox in Monday’s MLB Draft — calls Lakeland, a city of about 100,000 that sits between Tampa and Orlando, home. The Vanderbilt right-hander hasn’t met the White Sox ace, and his family only has loose connections to the Sale family.
But Fulmer and a few relatives made it a point to find a Buffalo Wild Wings Monday in Champaign, Ill. — where Vanderbilt beat Illinois to book a second straight trip to the College World Series — to watch Sale’s 14-strikeout masterpiece against Houston. Sooner rather than later, Fulmer hopes to join Sale in The Show.
“Growing up and seeing a guy like Chris Sale from my hometown with the White Sox and the impact that he’s made on the organization. I was pumped up for it,” Fulmer said. “I definitely wanted to become a part of the White Sox organization.
“I’m pumped up for the opportunity and I definitely want to make an impact right away.”
Fulmer fits the fast-track profile, having pitched out of the bullpen during the Commodores’ run to the College World Series title a year ago. He has 298 strikeouts in 258 collegiate innings and while he said he prefers starting over relieving, his big fastball-curveball combination and experience pitching on a pressure-packed stage could make him a candidate to rocket through the farm system and into the White Sox bullpen.
It’s a path traversed by Sale and Carlos Rodon before him, and White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann said Monday Fulmer could be capable of following in those left-handers’ footsteps.
“There’s questions about starting or relieving and for me (but) I just want to impact the team, I want to help the team as much as possible right from the get-go,” Fulmer said. “Obviously the organization is going to do what they know will help. I’m just going to do what they tell me to do.
“But I definitely want to move quick, I definitely want to get there to impact the team and help the team as much as possible. Obviously nothing’s set in stone, I haven’t really talked to the organization that much yet but it’s definitely something that’s in the back of my mind and definitely something I want to do in the next couple of months.”