Michael Fulmer is getting betterFriday: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. He's up to 8th in the SAL in ERA (3.00) as a 19-year old and is third in the SAL in opponents' batting average (.209). His ERA by month: April-4.08, May-3.00, June - 2.22.
His last three starts: 0.93 ERA, 19.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 17 K, .134 opponents' average (9 H/27 AB). "I feel like I'm pitching now," he told me after his last home start when he struck out a career-high eight batters in six innings. He is pitching more. That includes throwing more changeups, even in hitters' counts to get easy outs. It means have having the faith to throw his slider more.
Scouts are giving both secondary pitches better grades than early in the year. Post-draft observers have put "easily" plus future grades on the pitch noting that it has been a wipeout offering to the glove side, that is, away from right-handed hitters. Is it a true plus pitch yet? No, but it could be. His changeup is still inconsistent. At times, Fulmer will get a good grip, and find the range with the pitch in the 83-84 mph range, while others will be too firm at 86-87 when it comes out of his hands too easily.
Matt Reynolds is a ShortstopThe Mets' 2012 second-round pick, Matt Reynolds began his professional career by going 0-for-4 with a strikeout Sunday for the Gnats in Augusta while playing shortstop. It's the shortstop-ness that I'm most interested in at the moment. He was an All-SEC defensive third baseman and a Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball third team All-American for Arkansas this year. He did not play a single game at short for the Razorbacks, three games at second and 63 at third. If he can handle shortstop, well, his value rises significantly.