In the first game of the series against the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers prospect Michael Fulmer made his debut on the mound. The young pitcher looked composed and controlled as he showed why he is the top prospect in the Tigers organization.
At the trade deadline in 2015, Fulmer was part of the trade that Dave Dombrowski made with the New York Mets in exchange for left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Since his arrival in the organization, Fulmer has pitched in Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. Fulmer had an ERA of 2.84 with a WHIP of 1.074 in 2015 in with the Erie Seawolves. So far, in Toledo, Fulmer has an ERA of 4.11 with a WHIP of 1.370.
Fulmer was drafted by the Mets right out of high school in the first round of the 2011 draft. He has worked his way through the Mets system until the trade in 2015. Fulmer is currently 23 years old, but he handles himself on the mound like he is much older.
According to Katie Strang with ESPN, not just the fans are excited to see what Fulmer does in his debut. Justin Verlander is also excited to see what he brings: “I loved his mentality on the mound. You know, he’s not scared. And I love his stuff. He attacks guys and I think he has the chance to be an excellent pitcher at the big-league level.”
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Fulmer did not disappoint in his first major league start. In five innings, he struck out four and walked one. He allowed seven hits and two runs. For a 23-year-old pitcher making his very first big league start, he exceeded expectations. The team provided run support, driving in four runs in those five innings with three of them occurring in the first inning alone.
Fulmer’s pitchers were nothing but nasty. In the first inning, he struck out Brian Dozier on a dirty 88-mph slider. The other two batters in the innings grounded out. The young pitcher also struck out the first two batters in the second inning. He used two fastballs as the finishing pitches. The first was clocked at 96 mph and the second was 94 mph. His fourth strikeout was called on a 93-mph fastball.
Spectators were pleased with what they saw from the top prospect. It was evident that Fulmer wants to pitch in the Bigs. Experts appreciated his performance, too.
In his 93 pitches in 5 innings, he earned an ERA of 3.60. His strike percentage was 65% with 61 strikes thrown. With his performance and the run support he received; hopefully, he will get a few more starts in Detroit and not get sent back to Toledo in a rush. He’s not a perfect pitcher, but his fastball is fast and his slider stymies batters. There is quality raw material to work with and improve upon.
He will need to get the hits down, but for a debut, no one could ask for anything more.