With the 44th selection in the MLB draft, the New York Mets took another high school player, a pitcher from Oklahoma, Michael Fulmer. This marks the second pick today with some serious upside, but who also could pose a serious signability issue as he's commited to attend Arkansas -- like Brandon Nimmo -- next season.
Fulmer is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander with a very big arm that can get up to 96 mph, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball prospectus. Keith Law described the pick: "One of the best HS curveballs in the draft but kind of a stiff body." Filmer went 10-2 with a 0.72 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 68 innings this year for his high school team.
And in his more comprehensive scouting report, Law offers:
Fulmer's a late riser in this draft, a beneficiary of all the national scouts who've headed into Oklahoma this year to see Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley and have stuck around for a day or two to make the trip worthwhile. Fulmer has one of the best breaking balls in the draft to go with a 91-94 mph fastball. The curveball runs from 76 into the low 80s and has tight rotation with a sharp downward break. There's clear effort in his delivery, as he gets his front leg down early but doesn't get his weight on it and generates arm speed from his upper half. However, the present fastball and breaking ball are both above-average and he could probably move through the lower levels of a system fairly quickly.
It's very nice to see that Fulmer already has the makings for two above average pitches. His major league stock as a starter will obviously be determined by him developing a good third offering, but also smoothing out his delivery as well so that it's repeatable and he can sustain it long into games. And Fulmer has time to do this since he's only 18 years old.
Coming into this draft, scouting experts said that the Mets were going to play "safe" card in this draft -- go after college arms and guys who could move through the system rapidly. Instead, they made two risky, but potentially very rewarding picks. It would be a shame to see these guys attend college instead, but you'd have to think that Sandy Alderson and Co. would not have selected them if they didn't think they were signable -- and the amount of money on the table will be hard to pass up for these guys. This also speaks very well to the teams finances, or at least the importance the organization now places on making the draft worthwhile.
Credit the front office for going with who they deemed were the best at each spot and not necessarily someone who would be cheap to sign.