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.
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.
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."