With Michael Kopech, Dane Dunning, and Dylan Cease on the bump tonight down on the farm, the Chicago White Sox are stuck with the fourth best pitcher of the day on the hill, against the Texas Rangers.
Carson Fulmer has not pitched against any Rangers hitters, but that does not help his sinking value. Coming into the game, Fulmer is sporting the second highest FIP (6.97) in baseball (minimum of 30 IP). There are a multitude of reasons — but two statistics stand out above the rest.
Fulmer has the fifth-lowest swing percentage in baseball when a pitch is out of the zone (23.1%), otherwise known as O-Swing%. He has the 14th-most contact given up when a pitch is in the zone (91.1%), also known as Z-Contact%. When a pitcher cannot induce swings on pitches out of the zone and has a contact rate on pitches in the zone better than 90%, a 6.97 FIP is not farfetched.
Now that the obligatory bad news is out of the way, how about something good? Well, the lineup is still producing. Matt Davidson comes into the game with ninth-best ISO (.309) and the 17th-best walk percentage (15.3%) in MLB. Though Comeback Player of the Year is usually reserved for players coming off of injuries, Davidson should be in that conversation, as well as in the mix for the All-Star Game.
Speaking of All-Stars, Jose Abreu is having an atypical good start to May. He has only hit one home run in 59 plate appearances, but is slashing .333/.373/.481. He is also currently on an eight-game hitting streak. Abreu is not hitting the ball as hard as normal during this two-plus week stretch, but he has been avoiding softer contact. In fact, in his last three games, none of the balls in play have qualified as soft contact per FanGraphs. Abreu may be behind Davidson and Yoan Moncada for the lone White Sox All-Star, but his trade value has not diminished.
Matt Moore, who is just as bad as Carson Fulmer, is taking the mound for the Rangers. He has a 5.38 FIP and walks a little more than four batters a game. Now, somehow Sox hitters were stunted by the venerable Doug Fister last night, who tossed a game score of 69. However, Sox batters are slashing .306/.405/.528 against Moore.
Tonight's #WhiteSox starters.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 18, 2018
⏰: 7:10 PM CT
: @NBCSChicago +
: https://t.co/55ArzXsN5T pic.twitter.com/Oxs47KnbQ0
Here is how we'll lineup tonight for game two with the White Sox.— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) May 18, 2018
Game preview: https://t.co/M1w3kBc1Dm pic.twitter.com/V3yvf2neWH