Fulton relishes opportunity

Photo: Daxton Fulton (Perfect Game)

Jack Nelson
Published: Thursday, August 1, 2019

Daxton Fulton admits that when it came to baseball, it wasn’t love at first sight. Oh, how things have changed. Fast-forward 13 years and Oklahoma City native is one of the top amateur baseball players in the country. He will take another step in his journey on August 11, when he will compete in the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park in San Diego.

“I started playing when I was three or four,” Fulton said. “It was fine, but I wasn’t obsessed with it. I really didn’t start to truly enjoy it until I was about 13. I was always a big multi-sport athlete, playing football and basketball until I was a freshman in high school. That’s around when I got my first offer for baseball and that’s when I really started to focus my time on pitching.”

Things really started to click for Fulton after that initial offer from his home state Oklahoma Sooners. He says he went through puberty later than many of his peers, so didn’t always posses the elite velocity. When he was younger, he had to truly learn how to pitch in order to stand out. Once he started to mature physically, the velocity soon followed and he became all the more dominant. Fulton is now a 6-foot-6, 220-pound lefthanded pitcher with a 93 mph fastball and projects for more.

“When I got that first offer, I really started to believe that I could make a career out of baseball,” he said. “I knew I really needed to take it seriously. I knew I needed to work as hard as possible. That’s when I stopped playing the other sports.”

For the most part, Fulton has been competing with the Midwest Elite for much of his prep career, and has attended 11 Perfect Game events in the last two years. Over the course of his busy summers, he attracted the attention of the Vanderbilt Commodores. They invited him for visit to Nashville, and the rest was history. He said it was pretty easy decision to join the program that has produced the likes of David Price, Walker Buehler, and Sonny Gray.

“They’ve always treated me like family,” he said. “I like how they see everyone as the same. No one is too big or too small for the program. Obviously, they won the national championship this year but I’m really appreciative of the time they’ve put into me. I’m really looking forward to going to play there.”

Fulton is ranked the No. 16 overall player in the high school class of 2020 and the No. 2 overall LHP. In June, he was selected to participate in the 2019 National Showcase, were he earned a spot on the top prospect team. After his standout performance in Phoenix, Fulton was selected to compete in the crown jewel of the summer circuit, the Perfect Game All-American Classic.

“It’s every kid’s dream to be an All-American,” he said. “If I could pick one game out of the entire summer, this is the one I wanted to make. I’m really excited to get out there. It’s going to be a blast.”

Fulton has many people to thank that have helped him along his rise, but he says no one has made as large of an impact as his father.

“My dad is my biggest athletic influence,” he said. “He’s not even a big baseball guy. His thing is basketball and that is the sport he played in college. But he knew I really liked baseball, so he devoted all his free time to learning about pitching. We would go throw together, hit together, just do something every single day. He sacrifices so much for me to be the best I can be. I’m really thankful for that.”

Aside from his family, the big lefty looks to the major leagues for inspiration. In order to get better, he not only analyzes a player’s mechanics but also his mental approach to the sport. Fulton is a true student of the game, and he expects a lot from himself. It is this insatiable drive that has propelled him to the precipice of his dreams.

“Clayton Kershaw is an MLB player I admire,” he said. “I really like the competitive aspect he brings. Yes, he’s a lefthanded pitcher like me, but that’s not the only reason I admire him. He expects perfection, and that’s how I am. I want every pitch to go where I want it to go. I know I’m good enough, and I know I can do that.”

The next calendar year will be quite a whirlwind for Fulton. After the PG All-American Classic, he will start his senior year at Mustang High School. From there, he will have his final season of baseball with his hometown friends before his career truly begins. Fulton recognizes how fortunate he is to be in this position. It’s not something he is taking for granted and he vows to do all he can to play baseball for as long as possible.

“My ultimate goal is to play three years at Vanderbilt,” he said. “After that, I want to play in the big leagues until they tell me I can’t anymore. I think that’s every kid’s dream.

"I don’t see baseball as work. Baseball is a game, and there’s not many people that get to play a game and be paid for it. I would be very blessed to have that opportunity.”

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