With the season drawing to a close, we are going to provide year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Olde English D in 2018.
The Detroit Tigers have nearly completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.
As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.
Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!
Fulmer made 24 starts in 2018, battling a pair of trips to the disabled list – the second which cost him the end of the 2018 campaign.
In any other season, losing Fulmer in September would be a huge loss. However, it felt a little like a blessing in disguise in 2018, for fans and probably for Fulmer himself.
The 25-year-old right-hander had his worst season as a big leaguer, earning a 4.69 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP and a 3.13 BB/9. While his strikeouts were up to a career-high 7.48, he put way too many runners on base and gave up way too many home runs (1.29 HR/9) to be effective.
After trade rumors surrounded him all offseason, it was a huge letdown to see him come out and struggle so much in 2018. His trade value is all but gone, and fans are starting to worry that his 2016 rookie year was the best we are going to see from Fulmer.
There’s still some hope however. Fulmer’s fastball velocity remained about the same, and he actually gave up less contact on all of his pitches (except his changeup) this season. The contact surrendered was harder, but Fulmer’s ability to miss bats appears to be improving. He still has plenty of corrections he needs to make, but at the end of the day he is still a wildly talented 25-year-old hurler.
Considering we are grading based on expectation, there’s no doubt Fulmer gets an F in my book. I still think he can become a high-quality, consistent starting pitcher, but 2018 was a pretty big step in the wrong direction.