At this time last year, Dax Fulton was projected to be one of the best high school arms in the 2020 MLB Draft. Unfortunately, an elbow injury required Tommy John surgery, and his draft stock took a hit. In spite of that, he possesses the potential to still land as the 43rd-best prospect, according to MLB.com. Additionally, he is still the top-ranked left-handed prep pitcher available. He was verbally committed to Vanderbilt University, but has since changed his commitment to the University of Oklahoma.
Fulton is a product of Mustang High School in Oklahoma, and he possesses great size, with a frame of six feet, six inches tall and 225 pounds. He is lean, but still has good strength and athleticism. Scouts feel that he has room to add around 15 pounds of muscle as he progresses through the development phase of his career. Therefore, he is considered to have a high ceiling.
As far as accolades, Fulton was earning several before his injury. His injury occurred while he was trying out for the United States 18-and-under national team, which is comprised of the very best high school players in the country. He was also named to play in the Perfect Game All-American classic.
Fulton’s strengths start with his pitching arsenal that features both an above average fastball and curveball. He does not throw particularly hard right now, topping out at 93 MPH, but it has good life to it because it is thrown on downhill angle. His curveball is his highest-graded pitch, and it combines power and depth to fool batters. The velocity on this pitch sits in the mid-to-high 70s, and it he can manipulate its break.
He also features a changeup that shows potential to be at least an average pitch. All three of his pitches should show continued improvement as he matures physically. His control is also good, and he can throw strikes with all three of his pitches.
Mechanically, Fulton has a sound delivery which plays into his favor. He is able to control his long limbs and keep them in sync. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot and makes good use of his hips to generate power. Although he does have a short stride, it plays to his benefit, creating the downward action that helps give his fastball life. He also is able to hide the ball well.
Right now, the biggest question mark for Fulton is his health. Rehabbing from Tommy John surgery is an extensive process, and the time for a pitcher to return to form differs on a case by case basis.
Not only is health a concern for Fulton, but the injury also impacts his signability. It is worth reiterating that it is still very possible that Fulton is the first left-handed prep pitcher taken in the draft, but he may not be taken as high as he would have prior to the injury.
Therefore, it is also possible that Fulton could opt to honor his commitment to Oklahoma. By doing that, he would be able to rehab his elbow and build his draft stock back up for the 2023 draft.
When factoring in the size, stuff, and velocity of Dax Fulton, he resembles a version of St. Louis Cardinal Adam Wainwright from the left side. They have similar builds that would be even closer if Fulton adds the muscle that scouts think he can add. Their mechanics are also similar from opposite sides of the rubber with three-quarter arm slots and shorter strides.
While Wainwright prominently features a sinker and cutter as his second-and-third most used pitches right now, his deep-breaking curveball is still his best and most used pitch. Wainwright does throw a little softer than Fulton does right now, with an average fastball velocity under 90 MPH and a curveball under 75 MPH, so this comparison could be subject to change depending on what kind of uptick in velocity Fulton experiences as he matures physically.
Fulton has tons of potential and a high ceiling. Now, it is up to general managers to decide if his injury and college commitment make him outweigh his potential.
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