The Angels have agreed to a minor league contract with former top pitching prospect Carson Fulmer, per the transaction log at MiLB.com. The right-hander has been assigned to the organization’s Arizona Complex League affiliate for the time being, presumably as he builds up for an assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Fulmer, 29, was selected by the White Sox with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 draft. He’d been speculated upon as a possible No. 1 overall pick prior, and while there were some concerns about his ability to stick as a starting pitcher even at the time of the draft, most expected that he was a good bet to serve as a high-end reliever even if the rotation didn’t pan out. Baseball America called him the “surest big leaguer on the board” in the spring of his draft season, and virtually every ranking of that year’s draft class had Fulmer at least within the top 50 prospects of the class — if not the top 10.
Suffice it to say, things haven’t gone according to expectations. While Fulmer breezed through High-A in 2015 following his selection, he struggled with command in Double-A in his first full season. He nevertheless reached he big leagues just over a year after being drafted, but he was hit hard in the South Siders’ bullpen that summer, allowing 11 runs in 11 2/3 innings before being sent down for some more seasons in Triple-A.
Fulmer made 15 starts and another 21 relief appearances for the ChiSox over the next three seasons but struggled in both roles, pitching to a 6.29 ERA with 57 walks against 73 strikeouts in a total of 83 innings, exhausting all of his minor league option years along the way and leaving the win-now White Sox with little choice but to designate him for assignment in advance of the 2020 season.
Including the Angels, Fulmer has now bounced to seven teams since that DFA. He posted a 6.00 ERA between the Tigers, Orioles and Reds from 2020-21 and spent the 2022 season with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate. Fulmer had a decent showing in Triple-A last year, logging a 2.86 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League but still posting an ugly 14.5% walk rate in 56 2/3 frames. He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners just prior to 2023 spring training, but Seattle cut him loose at the end of camp. He’ll now land elsewhere in the AL West, as the Angels continue to cast a wide net and take looks at veteran arms in hopes of stabilizing their top-heavy bullpen.