Future full of promise, Fulmer gaining experience

Top prospect expected to contribute in 2016

Future full of promise, Fulmer gaining experience

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carson Fulmer won't break camp with the White Sox.

That fact stands as a near certainty with fewer than two weeks remaining on the Cactus League schedule.

But the eighth pick in the 2015 Draft has proven that he's capable of helping the big league team this season.

"Absolutely. Why not?" said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. "I believe at this point, right now, compared to last year, he's slightly ahead of where [Carlos] Rodon was."

Quintana preps against Minor Leaguers

Everybody knows how the Rodon story turned out in '15.

Rodon was selected third overall in the 2014 Draft, pitched 24 1/3 Minor League innings that season and began the 2015 campaign with 10 innings for Triple-A Charlotte. The southpaw then made his way to the Majors, where he posted a 3.75 ERA and 139 strikeouts over 139 1/3 innings in 29 appearances and 23 starts.

Fulmer, 22, threw 23 innings last season between the Arizona Rookie League and Class A Winston-Salem. His time might be limited with Double-A Birmingham or Charlotte before the White Sox come looking for him.

Fulmer's strong outing

To the credit of the organization's top-rated MLBPipeline.com prospect, Fulmer has been seen and not heard during Spring Training. He has done exactly what has been asked of him, including 3 1/3 scoreless innings and four strikeouts during Sunday's 6-2 victory over the A's, along with two starts against the World Series champion Royals.

He has studied veteran hurlers such as John Danks and Chris Sale, trying to find the competitive edge that separates the great from the good.

"When you look at the best pitchers in baseball, the Sales, the [Clayton] Kershaws, they have confidence," Fulmer said Sunday. "They know their stuff is good, they can throw it at any time, and they know they can get people out.

"It's experience at this point. Everybody has a great arm, everybody has electric stuff, but it's being able to go out and compete and not get unfocused on the little things that get some guys in trouble."

Mat Latos holds the edge for the rotation's fourth spot, with Sale, Jose Quintana, Rodon and Danks already in place. Latos' stuff has been "getting better" during side work and "B" games, according to Cooper, and he will make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday against the Giants.

White Sox reliever Putnam moves forward after injury

The bullpen also appears to be set with Zach Putnam's right hamstring injury now a thing of the past. Fulmer could conceivably help in either area before the season is through, and quite possibly follow the same path as Rodon by working in both during the same season.

"I feel good about where Fulmer is at right now and the plan we've got for him," said Cooper. "It's still a work in progress. It's not done."

"Once my name is called, regardless of where it is or when it is, I'll definitely be ready," Fulmer, who has been focused on more controlled rhythm in his windup, the addition of a cutter/slider and developing the changeup, said. "I just look forward to continuing being a good teammate and hopefully win a championship here soon."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.