Late Thursday evening, Atlanta drafted right-handed pitcher Garrett Fulenchek with the 66th pick in the draft. Fulenchek is a big guy on the mound, standing 6'3" and weighing 205 pounds. His best pitch is his sinker, which sits in the low 90s. He's got a decent slider already, and some think it could be a plus pitch in the future. Here's what MLB.com had to say about Atlanta's new arm:
Because he comes from a tiny town -- Howe, Texas, which has a population of 2,600 -- and didn't pitch on the showcase circuit last summer, Fulenchek was relatively unknown before he impressed scouts with his velocity and projectability at Perfect Game's World Wood Bat Association World Championship last October. He has continued to raise his profile this spring and could be the second high school player drafted from Texas, behind only potential No. 1 overall pick Tyler Kolek.
Fulenchek's best pitch is a hard sinker that runs from 90-94 mph and could get quicker as he fills out his frame. His slider has improved during his senior season, and though it lacks some consistency, it has late bite and could become a plus pitch in the future. He also demonstrates feel for his changeup, though he doesn't have to use it much.
The Dallas Baptist recruit is getting better at repeating his mechanics and commanding his pitches. If he continues to develop like he has in the past year, Fulenchek eventually could become a frontline starter in the big leagues.
Slapping a frontline ceiling on a the kid at this time seems like a reach to me, but that said, I'm sure Atlanta did their homework. It'll be interesting to see the development of his changeup under the Braves' tutelage; the changeup will go a long way towards determining his ultimate future.