Michael Fulmer, Starting Pitcher
Look! A pitcher! An actual pitcher!
In all seriousness, Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann probably would have had stronger cases, but recent struggles have driven the pair’s respective ERAs up. Francisco Rodriguez could be in the conversation as well, but his ERA is high compared to fellow relievers like Andrew Miller and Kelvin Herrera.
Back to Fulmer, the centerpiece of the Yoenis Cespedes trade has been superb for the Tigers this season.
Forget being one of the best rookie pitchers in the league, Michael Fulmer has been one of the best starting pitchers in the American League period.
In 11 starts, the rookie has achieved a 7-2 record to go along with 60 strikeouts in 63.2 innings pitched. Fulmer also owns a 2.5 WAR, second on the team only to Ian Kinsler.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign from the pitcher’s debut season has been his ability to adapt and make changes. The starter was tagged for 14 earned runs and nine walks in his first four starts, totaling 19.1 innings pitched.
Fulmer started to incorporate a third pitch, a changeup, and things started to click. The starter went 6-1 over his next seven starts, fanning 38 batters in 44.1 innings pitched. His ERA over that span was a miniscule 0.61.
He may not be the favorite, but Fulmer is legitimately in the conversation to start the All-Star Game. That in itself is a major achievement for a player who began the year pitching for the Toledo Mud Hens.