The Pirates announced Monday that for the second time this season, they’ve claimed right-hander Carson Fulmer off waivers. Pittsburgh claimed Fulmer off waivers from the Tigers in late August but lost him to the Orioles in early September before he ever pitched a game in Pittsburgh. Baltimore apparently tried to pass Fulmer through waivers themselves in order to retain him without committing a 40-man roster spot to him, but the Bucs put in a claim to bring him back.
Fulmer, 26, hasn’t lived up to the billing since being selected by the White Sox with the No. 8 overall pick back in 2015. At various points, the former Vanderbilt star was even considered a potential No. 1 overall pick, but he’s struggled in the upper minors with the ChiSox and been hit hard at virtually every point in his up-and-down Major League career.
To this point, Fulmer owns a woeful 6.34 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9 in 105 Major League innings. But there’s plenty of pedigree here, and he still possesses high-end spin rates on his heater and curveball. His time in the Orioles organization was brief but also encouraging, as Fulmer tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and without a hit. He did walk two batters and plunk another one, however, so his longstanding control issues are still making themselves plainly evident.
Fulmer is out of minor league options, so the Pirates will have to carry him on the Opening Day roster next year or else attempt yet again to pass him through waivers in order to keep him around. He hasn’t even come close to going unclaimed at this point, so that might be unlikely. The Tigers had the top waiver priority when they claimed him from the White Sox on Opening Day, and the Pirates had the top claim priority when they plucked him from Detroit the first time around. Ten teams passed before the Orioles won their claim on him earlier this month, and the Pirates again claimed him with top priority this time around.