The Tigers announced today that they have claimed right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer off waivers from the White Sox, who designated Fulmer for assignment on Thursday. The Tigers will need to make a corresponding move to clear a spot for Fulmer on the 40-man roster.
As MLBTR’s Steve Adams examined at length in May, Fulmer still offers glimpses of the tools that made him a coveted prospect in 2015: his fastball, curveball, and cutter all boast near-elite spin rates. And yet, despite those solid numbers, those pitches—particularly the four-seamer and cutter—evidently haven’t gotten the desired results for Fulmer. He’s generated relatively few swings and misses on those pitches, and it’s resulted in a career 6.56 ERA and constant up-and-down movement between the Majors and minors.
That said, this is precisely the type of acquisition that seems ideal for a Tigers team with little to lose this year. Without foundational pitching pieces, Fulmer comes at a small cost, and there’s always the possibility that a change of scenery could allow him to finally grow into a productive Major Leaguer. He’s still just 26 years old, and with expectations low for the team, they can afford to take on reclamation projects such as Fulmer in hopes that something sticks.
Fulmer could be deployed either as a starter or reliever, though it’s unknown as of now what Ron Gardenhire has planned for his newest player; either way, the Tigers will look to do what the White Sox couldn’t and tap into some of the talent that made him a top draft pick five years ago. If pitching coach Rick Anderson can hone Fulmer’s mechanics and command, the Tigers might have found themselves a worthwhile addition who could contribute to their next winning team.