Keith Law Rumors

White Sox Sign Carson Fulmer

The White Sox announced today that they have signed first-round pick Carson Fulmer to a minor league contract with a $3,470,600 signing bonus. The announced bonus matches the full slot value of Fulmer’s No. 8 overall selection (slot value via Baseball America). A right-handed pitcher out of Vanderbilt, Fulmer was advised by and is now a client of Icon Sports Management.

Carson Fulmer

Fulmer was one of the most interesting available players heading into the draft, with big-time stuff and a track record of excellence in major college ball, but also questions about whether he’ll be a big league starter in the long run. Having dominated the SEC with a 1.83 ERA and 13.1 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9, and featuring a sustainable, mid-90s heater with a very good curve and promising change, Fulmer is about as MLB-ready as drafted players come.

So what’s the downside? To an extent, it comes down to how you value near-term contributions versus long-term expectations, as Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs explained before the draft. Those prospect observers that attributed significant value to his near-big league readiness rated Fulmer as a top-ten prospect (McDaniel had him fifth, MLB.com ranked him 3rd, and Baseball America placed him sixth on its list).

But others, concerned with Fulmer’s high-effort delivery, relatively small stature, and lack of a consistent third pitch, put more weight on the idea that he has too great a chance of being relegated tot he pen in the long run. Keith Law of ESPN.com fell in the latter camp, placing Fulmer way down in the 43rd spot on his board.

Chicago, obviously, decided that Fulmer’s risky (but still high-ceiling) future outlook was worth taking on in order to add such an immediately impactful arm. With Fulmer now set to join an increasingly impressive stable of controllable starters — led by Chris Sale but also including Jose Quintana and last year’s third overall pick, Carlos Rodon — the White Sox rotation has quite a bit o potential. The team has now signed all of its choices from the first ten rounds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Astros Links: Lee, Wandy, Vasquez, Santana, Law

The Astros inked southpaw Trever Miller on this date in 2006, bringing him back for a second stint with the team. Here's the latest from Houston…

  • The Astros have heard from a few teams with interest in Carlos Lee, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Nothing is close however, and Morosi speculates that the Indians could be a fit.
  • Interest in Wandy Rodriguez "seems almost nonexistent," reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Last month we heard that the Astros seemed willing to absorb some of the $25.5MM left on the left-hander's contract to facilitate a trade.
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros have signed 16-year-old right-hander Carlos Vasquez and 17-year-old outfielder Edward Santana. An agreement with 17-year-old righty Tomas Lopez is not yet official. All three players are from the Dominican Republic and will report to the team's academy there.
  • Keith Law announced (on Twitter) that he will remain with ESPN after interviewing for some front office positions with the Astros last month.
  • The Astros have received permission to interview Cardinals regional cross-checker Mike Elias for a special assistant role in scouting, reports Law (on Twitter).

Law On Hosmer, Alvarez Bonus Demands

ESPN’s Keith Law has a new blog post discussing possible bonus demands for a couple of projected first-round picks.

  • Law says high school first baseman Eric Hosmer has a "reported demand" of $7MM.  Hosmer is advised by Scott Boras.  Law says Hosmer would go in the #5-8 range if not for his price tag.  Could he fall to the Nationals, Rangers, or A’s if one of those teams is willing to pony up?
  • Corner infielder Pedro Alvarez might be looking for something in $8.6MM range.  Some folks think the Rays will pass but the Pirates will make a splash and take Alvarez.



Ryan Howard and Arbitration Comparables

ESPN’s Keith Law has some good info up on his personal blog. I have always wondered about this stuff.  In the post, Law discusses how little sense it makes for the Phillies to pay Ryan Howard more than his service time calls for.  But also in the comments Law explains which players Howard’s agent can compare him to for an arbitration hearing. 

Law says:

For comparison purposes, a player may be compared to players in the same “service class” in the current year or in prior years, and third- and fourth-time eligibles may be compared to free agents who have signed in the current year or in prior years. Single-year salaries are more powerful comparisons than multi-year deals, since the individual salaries within a multi-year deal may be skewed due to bonuses, backloading, or other factors.

Law notes that Howard’s comp could be Miguel Cabrera, who made $7.4MM last year.  Howard logically deserves more than that based on a stat comparison, making the Phillies’ $7MM submission seem low.