Right-hander makes donation to ACE baseball program
By Scott Merkin
CHICAGO -- It didn't take long for Carson Fulmer to fit in with the White Sox organization. And the right-hander has yet to even throw for them, unless his ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday's game between the White Sox and Orioles counts.
The White Sox top pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft agreed to a Minor League contract Friday with a $3,470,600 signing bonus, which is slot value for the No. 8 pick. Upon agreeing to the deal, the 21-year-old made a $10,000 donation to Chicago White Sox Charities that will be designated to support five players in the White Sox Amateur City Elite youth baseball program.
Ronell Coleman, one of Fulmer's teammates with the highly successful Vanderbilt program, also is an ACE graduate. Fulmer took time Friday to meet with a group of ACE players in the U.S. Cellular Conference and Learning Center.
"Before I joined the White Sox, I kind of hinted to him that I wanted to do it. Obviously, he had a big smile on his face," said Fulmer of informing Coleman of the ACE donation. "It was just a special opportunity for me to give back, especially with the organization I'm part of now and to help kids that are going through tough situations or just need a little extra help moving forward."
"That was 100 percent on his own, he brought up the idea," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn of Fulmer's donation. "He came up with the idea, he researched it, he said, 'Why don't I do this?' He is a class individual. We're looking to have him for his ability and for his role as a potential leader for this club."
That pitching aspect of the Fulmer package is fairly impressive. He was named SEC Pitcher of the Year and National Pitcher of the Year by the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015 after going 14-2 with a 1.83 ERA over 127 2/3 innings. Those results also included three complete games, 167 strikeouts and a .180 opponents' average over 19 starts at Vanderbilt.
Fulmer became the fourth pitcher in SEC history and first since 2005 to lead the conference in wins, ERA and strikeouts, and his 167 strikeouts are the second-highest total in Vanderbilt history behind David Price's 194 in 2007. He'll get some time off before reporting to the White Sox Arizona Rookie League affiliate, with the 127 2/3 innings already thrown factored into his workload for the remainder of the year.
"We'll see how he adapts. There is no rush or no urgency to move quickly," Hahn said. "He certainly has the talent and the makeup to potentially move quickly, but at this time, let's just get him acclimated to pro ball and adapt accordingly as he proceeds through the system."
"I'm ready to go," Fulmer said. "I hate taking time off and trying to slow stuff down. But it's part of their plan. They know what they're doing, obviously. I'm just here for the ride and control what I can control."