This was supposed to go up a few weeks ago… but it didn’t. So here it is, better late than never.
Friday night baseball games at McKethan Stadium always provide great entertainment and great baseball. The competition provided in the SEC is the best in the country, and many future Major Leaguers are produced by those programs. Vanderbilt is notorious for this, putting out names like David Price, Sonny Gray, Pedro Alvarez, and Ryan Flaherty, among others. Coach Tim Corbin is one of the greatest coaches in college baseball, and it shows with the talent he recruits, the talent he puts on the field, and the talent he sends to the pros. They are perennial contenders to make a trip to Omaha, and this year is no different. As the old adage goes, pitching and defense wins championships, and the Commodores certainly have pitching. Righthander Tyler Beede is projected to be a top-10 pick in this June’s First-Year Player Draft. This time next year, I expect the same to be said about Beede’s teammate, fellow righty Carson Fulmer. Beede is 6’4″ with a four seam fastball that sits in the mid to high-90s, a two seamer that sits in the low to mid-90s that tails, and two exceptional off-speed pitches; a curveball with good 12-6 break and a changeup that sits in the high-70s with good movement. The change could be his best pitch. Off the field, Beede raps under the alias Young Beedah, and he’s actually pretty good. Maybe one day we could see a Beede-Trevor Bauer collaboration feat. Ken Griffey Jr. I didn’t get to see him pitch on Friday (he threw Thursday), but I got his autograph after the game and he seems like a really nice guy.
As for who I did see pitch on Friday, the 5’11” Fulmer was absolutely masterfulthy (I wanted to say masterful and filthy, so we now have a word for that). His delivery is very quick, and he generates a lot of torque with his lower half. Notice how I said he was 5’11”; he throws 95. This is something that I’m going to rant on for a few sentences, so prepare yourself; there is no such thing as a player being “undersized”. Not in baseball, not in football, not anywhere. If a guy can play, he can play, and Carson Fulmer can play. He also has above-average secondary pitches, and can command the zone. Early and late in the game he had some short stints where his control eluded him, but in the middle he was solid, and even went on a treak of retiring twelve straight Gators.
(Side Note: I am really excited about Fulmer as far as his stuff, and how he pitches. This is probably because I actually saw him pitch in person, so I know more about his game, even though it was only one game, and probably his best game. All I have for Beede are some clips from YouTube, so that’s what I’m going off of, along with another scouting report.)
Fulmer’s start in Gainesville resulted in a complete game-four hit-shutout, the first shutout of his college career. He was still hitting 95 on the gun in the ninth on one of his fastballs to the last batter of the game, who he struck out. His line at the end was: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Post-game, when i went to go try to get his autograph, he had A Lot of friends and family there. He is from Lakeland, so I wouldn’t really expect anything less, and he put on a great show for his “hometown” crowd.
As far as pro player comps, you can’t help but compare him to “small” pitchers. I’ve put him up with two guys who have had success and were successful; Drew Storen and Marcus Stroman. Storen is three inches taller than Fulmer, and he was a reliever his whole career so that would probably be the least accurate comparison. Stroman is two inches shorter, and started some at Duke, so we could put these guys up next to each other and get a good comp.
Fulmer’s WHIP and ERA are closer to Storen’s but his K/9 are closer to those of Stroman, so it could really be the best of both worlds. Fulmer only has four collegiate starts because he was just recently moved into the weekend rotation, and it looks like a move that is paying off for the ‘Dores, with his 0.98 ERA. He had recorded 9 saves prior to the move, which goes back to the comparison to Storen; Storen led Stanford in both wins and saves his sophomore year.
Vandy has good defense to stand behind these two guys, and if they can score runs, the can really be a force in the NCAA Tournament. They are definitely worth keeping an eye on, whether it be this year or next.