A Weekend in Asheville: Micheal Fulmer and Jacob deGrom Battle the Mountains and the Tourists

The Gnats were swept out of Asheville by a combined score of 20-9 and lost three one-run game in the profess.

When looking at box scores from Asheville, Keep park effects in mind. Asheville’s McCormick Field is a great place to hit, and a very difficult place to pitch. In every year since 2009, the Tourists have led the SAL in batting average or slugging. Could the Rockies have had an incredible run of hitting prospects? Perhaps, but it’s all about a ballpark with a tiny rightfield up in the mountains where the ball flies.

This year, for example, the Tourists are leading the SAL in batting average (.278) and slugging (.446) in an SAL averaging .259/.336/.387. The 2012 Tourists hit .284/.362/.468 with 65 homers at home, and .271/.346/.422 with 40 homers on the road. The pitchers have a 4.51 ERA at home and 3.58 on the road.

 

As you look at these pitching lines, keep those facts in mind.
Sunday, Jacob deGrom: 6 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Monday, Michael Fulmer: 7 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

Michael Fulmer just keeps getting better. The 19-year old has lowered his ERA from 3.35 in 51 innings in the first half to 1.74 in 46.2 innings in the second half. After striking out 20%of the batters he faced in the first half, Fulmer is up to 24% in the second half and now has 89 whiffs in 97.2 innings this year. His walk-less start Monday was his first walk-free outing since April 16, and his first over five innings all year, and all short career. ┬áIn the first half, he walked 8.7% of his opposing batters, while that has dropped to 7.5% in the second half. Again, his slider has improved, and so has his fastball command. He’s a very fine pitching prospect, if not the best Mets hurler who has passed through Savannah this year.

DeGrom, who’s five years older than Fulmer, now has enough innings to qualify for the league leaderboard for the first time. He leads the SAL in ERA (2.51) and WHIP (1.01) and has the second-lowest walk rate among starters (1.41 BB/9) to go along with a K/BB above five and a half (5.6). Again, his fastballs (two and four-seamers) up to the mid 90s, and his ability to throw strikes will take him to the big leagues. He’ll be bullpen-bound unless his slider and changeup improve dramatically. By contrast, Fulmer’s slider is better, giving him a better chance to start.

 

Matt (Reynolds) Starting to Mash?
espite an 0-for-3 on Monday, which snapped a six-game hitting streak, Matt Reynolds, the Mets 2nd round pick this year, is hitting .308/.400/.436 in his last 10 games with two doubles, a homer and four walks against six strikeouts. That’s kinda what 21-year old top three round picks are supposed to do in the South Atlantic League.