2014 MLB Draft Profile: Garrett Fulenchek, RHP, Howe HS (TX)

Ryan Dunsmore

A tall RHP from a small town in Texas has crept up boards after being unknown due to his limited exposure in the showcase circuits last summer and fall.

Summary

I wouldn't have known where Howe, TX is had I not lived there for a few weeks with some friends last summer while I commented to McKinney for a clinical. But, it's a very small town north of Dallas. It is small, for those familiar with the Texas' UIL classifications, it's a 2A High School. At most, there's around 400 kids in the high school (I haven't kept up with official counts for classifications).

Either way, between attending a small high school and not participating in the summer showcase circuit last summer, he was an unknown last summer. However, after showing up in some fall baseball tournaments including a wood bat league, he began his ascent up draft boards and has continued that this spring. He now finds himself in conversation to be the second high school pitcher from Texas to be drafted.

He stands 6/3 with decent hip height. He weighs 205 and you can see some development in his hips but is still lacking in the shoulders. He has pretty average shoulder width for a pitcher. He definitely has the look of a pitcher and has the look of a kid who can still pack on some muscle. Definitely wiry.

On the mound, he uses his legs decently but could stand to drive with his hips a little better and straighten up his posture. He sets his arm decently in the early cocking phase of his delivery and throws from a 3/4 arm slot.  There is some recoil in the decoration phase of his delivery, however his arm is very loose in that part of the delivery. His arm is definitely not stiff in that phase. Could definitely use some work on the poster musculature to slow down his arm better.

He throws in the low 90's and tops out at 94 right now, but with some mechanical tweaks and development, he can probably hit those 94's more consistently. I don't expect much velocity gain out of any high school pitcher. Just more consistency in the upper end of their range. He has a slider that looks to be a big league out pitch that has future projection in the plus range. The change up is so rarely used against 2A hitters, it's tough to even put a grade on it.

Floor

Middle reliever outside of the usual minor league floor of a high school pitching prospect. The slider looks like it will play and can at least carry him some of the way.

Ceiling

MLB.com says a ceiling of a front-line starter. It's tough to hang a #1/#2 ceiling on a guy who competes at such a low level. Although, can't fault him for where he lives.  I'm the type who doesn't buy change up grades on amateur pitchers, so it's tough for me to hang that on anyone. The change up will ultimately decide his ceiling.

College Commitment: Dallas Baptist University

Projected Draft Round

Late first round to early second round. Depends a lot on how much scouts were able to get to Howe to see him this spring.  This is a guy who would likely benefit from going to team-held, private workouts.

Will he sign?

His commitment is to a close to home school. Not hard for family to attend his games or to head home for a home cooked meal. I sometimes wonder if closeness to home is a big deal for guys who commit to local schools and if that may factor in their decision on what to do when it comes to signing.  But, some of the less prestigious schools don't usually keep their upper end guys because of the draft. However, I haven't see anything calling him a tough sign.

Bibliography

Perfect Game

FB up to 94 mph at WWBA WC and has shown very good breaking ball

MLB.com

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.

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