The White Sox set their Opening Day roster Thursday, announcing that they’ve designated former top-10 pick Carson Fulmer for assignment. Chicago also signed old friend Ryan Goins to a minor league deal and assigned him to its alternate training site and selected the contracts of four players: infielder Cheslor Cuthbert, outfielder Nicky Delmonico, left-hander Ross Detwiler and right-hander Codi Heuer. Additionally, veteran utilityman Andrew Romine was released by the organization.
Sox fans will surely be glad to see Yoan Moncada activated from the injured list and placed on the Opening Day roster after previously being out with Covid-19. The White Sox also called up right-hander Jimmy Lambert and catcher Zack Collins from their alternate site.
It’s a disappointing outcome for the Sox and Fulmer alike. The former Vanderbilt star was at one point considered during his junior year to be a possible No. 1 overall pick, but he’s simply never put it together in the Majors. I explored the Fulmer conundrum at length during the league’s shutdown, looking at the right-hander’s lengthy history of struggles in the Majors and upper minors. Fulmer was touted as one of the surest big leaguers in that year’s draft, as even his critics felt he was a high-probability late-inning bullpen piece. Those with reservations about taking him at the top of the draft weren’t so much worried that he’d bust completely but that he’d thrive “only” as a reliever rather than a starter.
Fast forward a half decade, and Fulmer is an out-of-options righty with a career 6.56 ERA in the Majors and 5.39 ERA in Triple-A. As detailed in the previously linked piece on him, there are plenty of positive indicators in his arsenal, and I personally have wondered how he might fare working at the top of the zone with his four-seamer, but the win-now White Sox clearly didn’t feel he was among their 30 best options. Perhaps his struggles will be pronounced enough that he’ll clear waivers, but one can also imagine a non-contender rolling the dice on his once touted arm.
Of the players selected to the 40-man roster today, Delmonico and Detwiler have both appeared for the Sox in the past. Delmonico will give them a left-handed bench bat with sparse MLB success, while Detwiler can soak up some innings if need be — either as a spot starter or long reliever. Cuthbert was once a high-end Royals prospect but has never hit much in five MLB seasons. Heuer, meanwhile, was Chicago’s sixth-round pick in 2018 and posted dominant numbers in the minors last year. He has long-term bullpen potential for them, and the Sox are surely excited to get a glimpse of how he’ll fare against MLB opposition.
As for Goins, he’ll return to the organization for a second season after hitting .250/.333/.347 in 52 games with the Sox last year. The longtime Blue Jays infielder doesn’t have much of a track record at the plate — he’s a career .230/.279/.335 hitter — but he can play all over the infield and is generally considered a strong up-the-middle defender.