Fulmer, the Mets' supplemental first-round pick in 2011, at No. 44 overall, is the better prospect of this pair. The 22-year-old is a big guy at 6-foot-3 and 220-plus pounds, who throws hard. However, he's always been a little mechanical in his delivery. His repertoire and his approach starts with the gas.
He regularly sits 93-95 mph with his fastball and he can touch 97. His hard slider has plus movement. He's never had very good feel for a changeup, as he almost never threw the pitch in high school, so he's had to learn the offering in his four years as a professional. If he can learn the pitch enough to work through a big league lineup a few times, he'll be a very good mid-rotation starter with an absolute ceiling as a No. 2. If he does not, he will be a major league reliever and a very good one at that.
Fulmer had also been lights out for the last seven weeks. In his last nine starts, he has run a 0.68 ERA over 53.1 innings with a 30 percent strikeout rate and 4 percent walk rate to go along with a .202 batting average against. He told Tim Heiman that the key recently is that he has learned to "go out and trust your stuff."
Fulmer in Double-A in 2015
|First 6 Starts (Through 6/5)||3.86||32.67||34||14||22||9.7||15.3||.266||4.68|
|Last 9 Starts (After 6/5)||0.68||53.33||39||9||61||4.4||29.8||.202||1.35|
Injuries have slowed Fulmer the last two years. He had a torn meniscus in spring training in 2013 that seemed to bother him most of the year, while bone chips curtailed his 2014 season. He also told Heiman that the reason he's been successful this year is that he's "finally healthy."
At the time of his trade, Fulmer was the best pitching prospect in the Mets system. The guys who began the year ahead of him, including Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard, are in the big leagues. Marcos Molina is hurt. And Fulmer has put distance between himself and Gabriel Ynoa with his performance in Double-A.
Cessa is an organizational arm who is unlikely to be a big league starter. A converted infielder, Cessa has a 3.00 ERA in parts of two seasons in Binghamton with a 19 percent strikeout rate and a 5.6 percent walk rate. He's in the strike zone with an average fastball around 92-93 mph. His breaking ball is a little slurvy, but he can throw the below-average pitch for a strike.
In five starts in July since being promoted to Las Vegas, he is 0-3 with a 8.51 ERA with 40 hits allowed in 24.1 innings pitched. Cessa is more likely to show up in a big league bullpen as one of a team's last few arms than in a rotation.
This is the Mets' third trade in the last week, and for the third time, while adding big league pieces, they did not commit to any salary past the end of the 2015 season. Had the Mets been willing to add more salary, the price in prospects would have been less. However, clearly, budget was a major for concern for this franchise, just as it has been for the the last six years.