Michael Fulmer might be the type of pitcher that makes the most sense for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Why? Because he is young and has cheap control for the next several years. Fulmer is just 25 years of age and has four more years of control after this season. He currently is making league minimum, but he will enter his first year of arbitration next season with three more years of arbitration after. So right away he checks two important boxes for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He also has been a really productive starter in his short career thus far. Through his first season, Fulmer pitched like an All-Star posting a 3.06 ERA in 26 starts. Then last year he saw his ERA climb a little bit, but was still relatively productive posting an ERA of 3.83. What was making Fulmer so successful was that he was producing ground balls at a 50 percent clip, something that the Pittsburgh Pirates like to see.
This year, however, has not been Fulmer’s best. His ERA has climbed even higher and is currently sitting at 4.50. One of the first reasons that his ERA has climbed is that his groundball percentage has dropped down to an unspectacular 45 percent. Furthermore, he is walking over three batters per nine innings pitched for the first time in his career. He also is giving up more home runs compared to the last two years. This is mainly because he is not getting as many ground balls as he has in previous years.
So why should the Pittsburgh Pirates deal for him? Well, right now might be a time that the Detroit Tigers feel that it would better to get something of value for him in case he keeps regressing. With that, the Pittsburgh Pirates could take a chance.
While he has four more years of control and will cost a decent package of prospects, he should come to a more competitive team and start to rebound. He has proven he can produce ground balls, the Pittsburgh Pirates could help him get back to being a ground ball pitcher. Also, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a better defensive team which should help him. Right now Fulmer’s FIP and Xfip are both closer to 4.00 than his ERA of 4.5. All in all, Fulmer has produced a 1.4 WAR which would be good for second on the Pittsburgh Pirates staff. The Bucs could slot him in right behind Taillon and help him get back to the impressive starter he looked like the last two years.