Second-year pitcher Michael Fulmer is the lone Detroit Tigers All-Star representative. He has stood out as the team’s top pitcher this season and is being rewarded with a trip to Miami next week to play with some of Major League Baseball’s biggest, and most talented, names.
Michael Fulmer Honored to be a Detroit Tigers All Star
Fulmer is honored to head to the midsummer classic, which is something he never imagined happening so quickly. “Not even in a dream,” he told reporters in the clubhouse after Sunday’s 11-8 loss to the Cleveland Indians, “it’s been what I’ve been thinking of my whole life, just not on this scale.”
He certainly deserves the call to the All-Star Game. He’s been the Tigers most consistent pitcher this season. He leads the starting rotation with a 3.19 ERA, is second in strikeouts with 78, and, leads the team with 3.1 pitcher wins above replacement, according to Fangraphs. That’s good for third in Major League Baseball.
Manager Brad Ausmus certainly recognizes his young number one starter’s contributions to the team and feels the All Star nomination is actually overdue. “Last year, I thought he deserved to go, but he wasn’t a well known name. This year, everyone in baseball is aware of who he is after winning Rookie of the Year,” he said Sunday.
Well, it may be a year late, Brad, but he’s finally made it.
His teammates are happy to see him go to Miami next week, even if no other Tiger is going with him. “I’m really excited for him. You know he’s earned it,” says Justin Verlander. “He’s been one of the best pitchers in the league since the beginning of last year. I couldn’t be more excited for him.”
That support means a lot to Fulmer, as he embarks on the next step of his career. They helped him embrace the news of his latest accomplishment, regardless of the lack of honors for anyone else. “When I heard the news, I was in shock by it,” said Fulmer, “but the out ranging support of my teammates they told me congrats and they’re happy for me and they say they truly mean it. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys right now.”
He is remaining level headed through all this. All he wants to do is remain focused on the two starts he has left before the All-Star break. The Tigers need all the pitching help they can get over these next few weeks as the trade deadline looms and the team wafts between buying and selling. Fulmer wants to help the team out as much as he can by focusing on each start as it happens, instead of getting overly excited about an individual accomplishment.
Fulmer is only in his second year as a big leaguer, so he still doesn’t feel like he belongs in the same conversation as some of his fellow All-Stars. “I know a lot of these guys have been playing for tens of years. A lot of them are going to be playing for a lot more.”
But, he knows he’s on the right path. “My ultimate goal is to play this great game as long as I can. This is just a starting point and hopefully I keep trending upwards.”
Going from hot prospect, to Rookie of the Year, to second year All Star is trending upwards. Fulmer, and the Tigers, jsut hope that trend continues.