White Sox top draft pick eager to meet Chris Sale

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Most evaluators, and the White Sox, view Carson Fulmer as the best college pitcher in the draft. AP

Carson Fulmer is eager to meet Chris Sale. The White Sox’ first-round draft pick hails from Lakeland, Fla., the same town as the Sox ace, but the two have never crossed paths.

“Growing up and seeing a guy like Chris Sale from my hometown with the White Sox and the impact that he’s made on the organization … I definitely wanted to become a part of the White Sox organization,” Fulmer said via teleconference Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the Sox made him the No. 8 overall pick in the draft.

Fulmer, a 6-0 right-hander who will pitch for Vanderbilt in the upcoming College World Series for the second straight year, joined family at a Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner Monday after the Commodores defeated Illinois in the NCAA Super Regional in Champaign, Ill. He wanted to watch Sale, who struck out 14 Houston Astros, pitch on TV.

“My two sisters, my two brothers and their spouses,” Fulmer said. “My dad and my mom were in Nashville. They couldn’t make it.“My brother knows of Sale growing up in Lakeland. That’s the first thing we wanted to do. We wanted to go see Chris Sale throw live.”Fulmer, a 21-year-old junior, was considered to be the top college pitcher in the draft, and if that’s the case, the Sox got that guy for the second year in a row. They picked Carlos Rodon third overall last season, and Rodon is already in the starting rotation. Rodon is scheduled to pitch for the Sox Tuesday night against Houston at U.S. Cellular Field, and it’s not out of the question Fulmer could be on the staff next season, if not sooner.“I’m pumped up for the opportunity and I definitely want to make an impact right away,” he said.Palmer is 13-2 with a 1.82 ERA over 17 starts this season. He has 152 strikeouts over 114 innings. He probably didn’t go higher because of his size and perhaps because of a max-effort delivery.Sale was picked 13th overall in 2010 and is already a three-time All-Star. When asked about Fulmer after his brilliant performance Monday night, Sale said he didn’t know him. But he knew of him.

“He’s from Lakeland,” Sale said.

“The day is exciting for them but it’s exciting for us because we know potentially we could somebody that can make an impact on the club.”

“The closest connection that I have to [Sale] is my brother,” Fulmer said. “Obviously they are I think right around the same age. That’s the only connection I have to him, but I definitely want to meet him. I definitely want to develop a relationship with him. It’s something I’m definitely looking forward to.”It was quite the eventful day for Fulmer, who was recommended by Sox scout Phil Gulley. The eighth pick is slotted at $3,470,600“Being able to spend time with my teammates has definitely helped,” he said. “Being able to win yesterday and go back to Omaha and try to repeat like we did last year, it was definitely special. But I also believe it’s because my roommate [shortstop] Dansby [Swanson] was drafted No. 1 overall [by Arizona]. And [teammate and right-hander] Walker Buehler was drafted by the Dodgers [in the first round]. It was just a surreal moment because I spent so much time, I spent every day with those guys and being able to spend that time with them and my family, it was definitely a surreal experience and an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”The draft continues Tuesday. The Sox’ next pick after Fullmer will come in the fourth round.

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