Fuller Leads Cyclones Charge

In his second season with the Cyclones, left-hander James Fuller is pitching the best ball of his career. A reliever in 2008, Fuller has been key to Brooklyn's early charge by providing consistency and command on the mound.

[FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT]

James Fuller, selected by the Mets in the 21st round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, now pitches in arguably the most ideal setting across minor league baseball. The Cyclones attract an average of 6,000 fans to Coney Island for each home game which allows Fuller to pitch in front of a large crowd in the shadow of his Major League goal just a subway ride away in Queens.

"It's a great place to play," said Fuller. "With the fans, the attention, the atmosphere, it gives each player a lot of motivation to perform at his best."

Pitch his best is exactly what Fuller has done this summer. He cruised to three wins in his first three starts without allowing an earned run and striking 18 in 17 innings pitched. That came on the heels of his 2008 season in Brooklyn when he went 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings as a reliever. But now, Fuller has re-emerged as a starter and has found his comfort zone.

"Things are going very well this year. I'm back in the starting rotation, I feel more comfortable as a starter and it's been a pretty good season so far," he explained. "I pitched well out of the bullpen last season, but I feel like starting is a lot more of my game."

His new role has agreed with him as, despite an even 3-3 record, Fuller's 1.64 ERA ranks fifth in the league, his 48 strikeouts places him third and he has been the pitcher leading the Cyclones to a league-best 27-14 record entering Friday.

"He's done a tremendous job for us since day one," said Brooklyn manager Pedro Lopez. "I really hope it continues that way. The thing about Jimmy is that he's been able to go out there, work ahead of hitters and execute good pitches."

"It's unfair to expect him to have a good game every time because he is only human," said Lopez, "But we've seen times this year when he's started and not everything has been there for him, he battles and still gives us good outings. It really showed me what he's made of."

Pitching from the rotation has brought Fuller so much early success because is now finally able to open up his repertoire and show all the tools which have helped him stymie the opposition.

"Being a reliever I was using mostly my fastball and curveball," said Fuller. "But now I can mix in my changeup more which has been my second best pitch and helped me out a lot."

"I've had seven starts now and I'm mixing in all my pitches but it took a while to put it all together after having a first season where I didn't really use all my pitches."

"He's got a real good thing going him being a lefty and he's been able to locate his pitches when he needs to which has been tremendous," Lopez echoed.

Fuller could not have come this far without first achieving amateur success, but recognizes that it is a whole new ballgame when earning his way up the professional ladder within the Mets system.

"I just want to go out and have a good year and help the team out as much as I can. I'm having a good start, the team is off to a good start, and I just want to have a quality start each outing and see where it goes from there," Fuller closed.

To get constant access to news across the farm system and not miss a beat of the rest of the 2009 season, CLICK HERE to become a subscriber of InsidePitchMagazine.com

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories