Pittsburgh Pirates: Carson Fulmer Needs To Stick Around This Time
By Noah Wright
After being claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates a second time, former top prospect Carson Fulmer needs to be given a shot at the major league level.
Carson Fulmer has been with four different MLB organizations in 2020. He started out the year with the Chicago White Sox. He was designated for assignment nearing the end of July, and was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Tigers. After pitching few innings with the Tigers, he was designated by assignment again and claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But Fulmer never appeared in a Pittsburgh Pirates’ uniform, and about a week later, he was DFA’d again and claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. Fulmer pitched just 3.2 innings with the Orioles, and was designated yet again, and claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates by the second time this year. But this time, the Pirates need to hold onto this former top prospect.
Fulmer has struggled in the MLB, that’s not in question. He has a career 6.34 ERA, 6.23 FIP, 6.01 xFIP, and -0.8 fWAR through 105 MLB innings. But he’s yet to be given a long look in the Major Leagues. So far, his longest stint in the MLB was in 2018 where he pitched in nine games, eight being starts, and logged 32.1 innings.
He’s also been a decent pitcher outside of his home ballpark, mostly Guaranteed Rate Field. Fulmer has a career 4.5 ERA away in 50 innings, but a 1.20 WHIP, and opponents have only been able to hit him for a .207/.312/.337 line.
But Fulmer still has plenty of potential in terms of his pitches. He carries an outstanding cutter that already grades as a 60 pitch. This is because he puts some outstanding spin on that. Fulmer sits in the top 91st percentile of spin rate with 2623 RPM’s. Fulmer also has an outstanding curveball. His curve has 2674 RPM, which places him in the top 88th percentile in all of baseball.
The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed a spin rate king off waivers, it turned into Chris Stratton. This year, the once under the radar claim has posted a 3.18 ERA, 3.15 FIP and a 1.24 WHIP across 28.1 innings of work to go with a 31.1% strikeout rate, 0.95 HR/9, 3.34 xFIP, 3.35 SIERA, and 3.34 DRA.
The point is, there is no risk in giving Carson Fulmer a shot to remain on the roster. There’s more to gain than there is to lose. He could prove himself to be a valuable member of the bullpen like Stratton has. Fulmer needs to be given a shot to stick in the majors, and this is the Pirates’ opportunity to experiment with different players, including with guys like this.