Well here we go with the second installment of the Official MetsMerizedOnline 2012 Mets Top 20 Prospects list, featuring RHP Michael Fulmer of the GCL Mets, at #19. When the Mets made Fulmer their 1st round sandwich pick in the 2011 draft (44th overall), as compensation for losing Pedro Feliciano as a free-agent, many scouts said he would be a very tough sign due to a commitment to attend the University of Arkansas. The Mets persuaded the 18-year-old from Oklahoma to forgo college and begin his professional career immediately, and they are very glad they did.
At 6’3″ and 200 lbs. Fulmer has good size, and has gained anywhere from 5-7 mph on his fastball in the last calendar year, while growing an inch in height and putting on about 20 lbs. His heater is now in the mid 90’s with his fastball topping out at 97. He has a very promising secondary pitch he is now throwing at 83-85 mph, that is thrown with a tight rotation and comes in with a sharp downward break. The most impressive thing about his breaking pitch, is he can throw it for strikes, which makes it a potentially devastating out-pitch. His change-up, like most high school pitchers, is a work-in-progress at this time, and will be something he must refine to find success as a starter beyond the lowest levels of the minors. He has shown good stamina on the mound, and should develop into a pitcher who can throw deep into games.
Michael was nice enough to grant me an interview last night, answering questions during Game 1 of the 2011 World Series. Thank you so much Michael the readers at MetsMerizedOnline.com really appreciate it.
Petey: First of all Michael, congratulations on a very exciting 2011! After becoming the 44th overall pick for the Mets in the 2011 MLB Amateur draft, your development over the next several seasons will be fun to watch as you climb the Minor League ladder to the Big Leagues. Thank you so much for sharing a little of your time. When the Mets drafted you in the Supplemental 1st round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft, how did you first hear about it, and what was that feeling like? Did you know the Mets were interested in drafting you?
Michael: On draft night I had a little party with my friends and immediate family. We were watching the draft on TV and to get that call from the Mets to say that they were interested in me at the 44th pick was the second most exciting thing in my life. The first being able to see my name and face on national television actually living my life long dream of becoming a professional baseball player.
Petey: Is there one person, a coach, a friend or family member, or even another player, who you learned the most from, or who inspired you to chase your dream of becoming a major league baseball player?
Michael: My parents were always supportive of me no matter what I did. I have to thank them for that. Second of all my coaches at the great Deer Creek High School. All the coaches helped me out a ton with different aspects of the game of baseball along with the lessons of life. And of course my teammates who are always beside me no matter what before during or after the game.
Petey: We have heard that you throw very hard, and have a very good off-speed pitch, but could you tell us a little more about your arsenal? What pitches you throw, at what speeds, and are you working on any new pitches moving forward?
Michael: I pitch off my fastball. That is my favorite pitch and also the pitch I need to work on most as far as command. I throw a 12-6 curveball, a slider, and a changeup which is getting a lot better while working with the pitching coaches.
Petey: You only pitched in 4 games after signing late last year, but during those 5 plus innings of work, were you able to get an idea of what you need to work on as a pitcher to succeed against tougher competition?
Michael: Yes, pro ball is very different from high school ball. I’ve learned that I got away with a lot of pitches in high school that I do not in pro ball. Command is the name of the game. Learn how to pitch now and not just throw.
Petey: Going from amateur to professional baseball will cause you to throw more innings. What kind of things will you do to stay in shape over the winter? Can you describe your workout regimen? Did the Mets give you specific things to work on?
Michael: My offseason will consist of the workout program that the wonderful strength and conditioning coaches gave us. Getting stronger, more flexible, balance, and all around stamina. Anything will help for upcoming spring training.
Petey: What was your favorite baseball team growing up? Your favorite player?
Michael: My all time favorite player is Curt Schilling. So I kind of followed him around when he played for the Diamondbacks and the Red Sox.
Petey: Is there a major league pitcher that you think you are similar to in style? Or someone that you can see yourself pitching like someday in the majors?
Michael: Not so much any certain pitcher in the Majors because they all have something I do not. They all have the skillset and know exactly what they have to do to be there. I have a lot of work to get close to any big league pitcher.
Petey: What are your goals for next season? Is there a particular club you hope to make out of spring training? Have the Mets made any indication of what they are planning for you next season, or are those things decided in ST?
Michael: My goal next season is to get better as a person and a ball player each and every day. The Mets organization have a plan for me and my goal is to impress them and get better every opportunity I get, always working hard.
Petey: What one thing did you learn in pro ball this year? What was your team like in the GCL? Was there any one player that really impressed you with his play?
Michael: In the GCL this year I learned that all my teammates can flat out play. It feels great just to be around guys who love the greatest game on earth as much as I do. My confidence on the mound has increased a lot because I know the guys behind me will get it done.
Petey: And to finish up Michael, just a little personal info, not pertaining to baseball. What is your favorite movie? Favorite musician or band? Favorite food?
Michael: Favorite movie is Major League 1 and 2. Favorite band is Skillet, and Jason Aldean. And favorite food has to be grilled chicken with honey mustard to dip in!
Petey: Thanks again Michael for being so kind as to participate in this interview! And congratulations on making my MetsMerizedOnline 2012 Mets Top 20 Prospects List. Take care, and looking forward to seeing you on the “bump” next year!
Michael: Thank you Pete, I appreciate it!
It sounds like the Mets got themselves a great kid with solid skills and potential. Not only is he a big strong pitcher with a great arm and a lot of talent, but they got an intelligent and dedicated young man, who knows what he needs to do to succeed, and has the drive to do it. It may take a few years, but I have no doubt that if healthy, this man is headed to the Bigs someday.
Look for Fulmer to stay in extended ST next year, and then begin the season with a short-season rookie league team, most likely either the GCL Mets or Kingsport.
Check back for the rest of my 2012 Top 20 Mets Prospect List, right here on MMO.
Next Up: Number 18
My short list includes:
- Jefry Marte – 3B
- Akeel Morris – RHP
- Collin McHugh – RHP
- Juan Urbina – LHP