Today, Danny Hultzen and Nick Franklin were among the many members of the Jackson Generals to participate in the Southern League All-Star Game. They participated in the All-Star Game because they are All-Star quality players, and because they're All-Star quality players, they're reportedly getting promoted. Nuts to the rest of the Jackson Generals' All-Stars, they can try to get promoted some other time later.
The Mariners two prized prospects will be moving on from the Jackson Generals today and join the Tacoma Rainiers, a source within the Mariners front office confirmed.
The move will likely be announced sometime today or Thursday.
Neither move is all that surprising, and people have been waiting for Hultzen to get to Tacoma for weeks, but now it's actually happening. Hultzen hasn't allowed a run since May 23. He's dominated the competition all season long, and he's only become more dominant with time, which is the way these things are supposed to be with prospects. Franklin, meanwhile, ranks second in the Southern League among regulars in batting average, third in OBP, and sixth in slugging. He's a shortstop who is 21 years old. He's continued to develop after a difficult but still productive 2011, and now his odds are only better of being the team's shortstop of the future.
For those who've been wanting Hultzen and Franklin in Seattle, this isn't the news of their dreams. But the Mariners aren't going to accelerate prospect timetables due to Major League needs in a development season, and now Hultzen and Franklin will be just one step away. Or one 30-40 minute drive away, put in other terms. When prospects succeed in double-A, they have two levels above them. When prospects succeed in triple-A, they have one level above them, so if Hultzen and Franklin do well as Rainiers, their next challenge would be the biggest challenge.
They'll have to prove themselves all over again. As will the organization's other prospects, upon their promotions. Nothing should ever be taken for granted, but neither Danny Hultzen nor Nick Franklin has been as close to the Majors as they are now. Or as they are whenever this news becomes official. The longer a prospect goes without busting, the better the odds are that the prospect won't bust.
For those of you who like to get ahead of yourselves, Brendan Ryan is arbitration-eligible in 2013. He's earning just a $1.75 million base salary in 2012, and he's currently batting .170. Ryan wouldn't cost the Mariners much to keep, and then he could try to hold on to his job next season while Franklin is hopefully pounding on the door.