White Sox

White Sox in no rush to see if Carson Fulmer can be on fast track

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White Sox in no rush to see if Carson Fulmer can be on fast track

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.

[MORE: Fulmer gives back to ACE program after signing with White Sox]

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.”

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.