Farm Report: Michael Fulmer OK after injuries

When the New York Mets selected Michael Fulmer with the 44th overall pick in the 2011 draft, then-scouting director Chad MacDonald compared him favorably to the two other prep right-handers taken out of Oklahoma in that first round -- Dylan Bundy (fourth overall) and Archie Bradley (seventh).

“There were three really good high school pitchers from Oklahoma, and they’re all in the same conversation for me,” MacDonald said.

Injuries have slowed the 22-year-old Fulmer’s ascent, but he now appears on track with Double-A Binghamton. Entering his next outing Friday for the B-Mets, Fulmer is 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA in three Eastern League starts.

“It feels great being up here finally, and being healthy,” Fulmer said. “Hopefully I can stay healthy all year for the first time in a couple of years.”

After a rocky Double-A debut last Aug. 19, Fulmer underwent surgery to remove a bone spur and chips from his pitching elbow.

Meanwhile, in 2013, Fulmer was limited to a combined nine starts between the Gulf Coast and Florida State leagues. He suffered a torn meniscus on the lateral side in spring training that year. After pitching through swelling that summer, it was discovered that he re-tore the cartilage, so he had a second surgery to repair the issue that September.

The Mets acted conservatively with Fulmer returning from the elbow cleanout, keeping him behind in extended spring training when his teammates broke camp. While building up his innings count, Fulmer used the time to polish his sinker, slider and changeup and work on fastball command.

He made an April 26 appearance with St. Lucie before advancing to Binghamton. That Florida State League start proved interesting. Fulmer surrendered a three-run homer to his former high school teammate, Brian Anderson, who will be the best man at Fulmer’s Jan. 2 wedding to fiancée Kelsey. Fulmer then went on to retire 21 of the next 22 batters.

“That’s my best friend from high school. We graduated together from the same high school,” Fulmer said. “He went on to play three years at the University of Arkansas and ended up getting drafted and went to the Marlins last year. It so happened that I made one start with St. Lucie and he was batting in the three-hole. The first inning, the first two guys got on base with infield singles, and he comes up. I get behind him 2-0 and I just kind of threw a little sinker and he pushes the ball out to right.

“I talked to him after the game. We walked down the line to the clubhouses there in Jupiter. I put my arm around him and go, ‘Hey, you know what? That’s your best-man gift right there. There’s no more coming after that.’”


Average: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, .346; Darrell Ceciliani, Vegas, .336; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .328; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .326; Luis Guillorme, Savannah, .306; Jayce Boyd, Binghamton, .305; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, .299; Brandon Nimmo, Binghamton, .297; Gavin Cecchini, Binghamton, .292; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .290.

Homers: Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 8; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 7; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 7; Michael Conforto, St. Lucie, 6; Darrell Ceciliani, Vegas, 5.

RBIs: Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 26; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 26; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 25; Michael Conforto, St. Lucie, 23; Jared King, Binghamton, 21.

Steals: Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 10; Wilfredo Tovar, Vegas, 9; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, 7; Kyle Johnson, Vegas, 7; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 7.

ERA: Robert Gsellman, St. Lucie, 1.43; Steven Matz, Vegas, 1.80; Seth Lugo, Binghamton, 1.93; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 2.31; Rob Whalen, St. Lucie, 2.50; Duane Below, Vegas, 2.51; Martires Arias, Savannah, 2.87; Luis Cessa, Binghamton, 2.97; Miller Diaz, St. Lucie, 3.06; Rainy Lara, Binghamton, 3.41.

Wins: Robert Gsellman, St. Lucie, 5; Steven Matz, Vegas, 4.

Saves: Jon Velasquez, Vegas, 10; Paul Sewald, Binghamton, 6; Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 5; Akeel Morris, St. Lucie, 5.

Strikeouts: Steven Matz, Vegas, 54; Brad Wieck, Savannah, 41; Corey Oswalt, Savannah, 36; Robert Gsellman, St. Lucie, 34; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 34.


  • VP Paul DePodesta describes newly signed Cuban catcher Lednier Ricardo as solid behind the plate. “He's a good defender first,” DePodesta said. “That's his calling card.” The Mets have not released the signing bonus, although Ricardo did not count against the organization’s international signing money because he is older (27) and had the required professional experience in Cuba. Ricardo currently is securing a visa. He initially should work out of the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, since he needs to get in baseball shape after a substantial period away from games. Once ready, he is projected to land in the upper minors -- Binghamton or Las Vegas.

  • Brandon Nimmo’s ACL sprain in his left knee, which he suffered while stepping on first base on Friday on a rainy night in Binghamton, may keep the 2011 first-round pick sidelined for roughly three weeks. Nimmo was batting .297 with two homers and nine RBIs and had a .368 on-base percentage in 155 plate appearances with the B-Mets before the injury. Gilbert Gomez (.109, with 23 strikeouts in 55 at-bats) has taken over as the primary center fielder in Nimmo’s absence. Nimmo was examined Monday by Dr. Andrew Pearle at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

  • Former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman David Cooper made his organization debut on Thursday with Binghamton. Cooper, 28, had 211 at-bats with the Jays in 2011 and ’12, hitting a combined .270 with six homers and 23 RBIs. A first-round pick in 2007 out of Cal, Cooper began this season playing with Lancaster in the independent Atlantic League. He had been slowed by back and shoulder issues and was released by Toronto during spring training in 2013, but appears healthy now. The Mets like his approach at the plate and hope he will at least provide a jolt to Binghamton’s offense.

  • Bronx native T.J. Rivera made his Triple-A debut Saturday as the second baseman for Las Vegas. He has hit safely in each of his first four Pacific Coast League games. Rivera, 26, hit .318 with nine RBIs in 85 at-bats with Binghamton before the promotion.

  • Right-hander Ricky Jacquez has been handed a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Jacquez, 22, was 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA and had six saves in 16 relief appearances in 2013 with Kingsport after being drafted in the 25th round that year out of Central Arizona College. He did not pitch last season. Jacquez previously had been booted from the University of Texas baseball team, according to the El Paso Times and other media outlets. Another prospect suspended for a drug of abuse, second baseman L.J. Mazzilli, is about two weeks from being eligible to return from a 50-game ban handed down in December.

  • Binghamton reliever Paul Sewald’s brother Johnny, an outfielder at Arizona State, made recent headlines for catching a pitch that hit him while batting. The Mets’ Sewald is doing fine, albeit with less flair, in Double-A. Sewald is 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA and has six saves. Opponents are hitting .186 against him. Sewald, who turns 25 on May 26, has allowed only one of nine inherited runners to score. Sewald’s career ERA is 1.84. He was drafted in the 10th round out of the University of San Diego in 2012.

  • Former Washington Nationals first-round pick Josh Smoker was promoted from Savannah to St. Lucie after six relief appearances with the Gnats.

  • Casey Meisner is 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA in six starts with Savannah. Despite standing 6-foot-7, Mets officials say the 19-year-old right-hander has smooth mechanics. Meisner, a third-round pick out of high school in Texas in 2013, throws strikes, too. He has 126 strikeouts and 37 walks (two intentional) in 132 2/3 professional innings.