All day - all week, really - the talk was about whether the Mariners would draft Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor, or Bubba Starling. Most figured Rendon, some figured one of the other two, and pretty much nobody figured a pitcher. But here we are, as the Mariners have flashed a big giant middle finger to those who attempted to pre-write their draft posts.
The Danny Hultzen vitals:
21 years old
University of Virginia
Golden Spikes Award finalist
Hultzen's writeups feature a lot of those buzzwords I personally find kind of uncomfortable, like "poise" and "pitchability" and "polish." What those say to me is "low ceiling." And indeed, depending on who you talk to, some people see Hultzen as a #3 starter who's more of a "safe" pick than a home-run-style selection.
But it's not like Hultzen is working with a nothing repertoire. He's gained velocity this year and throws his fastball between 91-95. People seem to like his changeup, and while those same people aren't such big fans of his slider, nobody's saying that Hultzen is a finished product, and pitches develop. I'd much rather have a pitcher with a good change and a mediocre slider than a good slider and a mediocre change, just because the slider is an easier pitch to advance. Hultzen also apparently throws a slow curve every so often, but not very much.
There's nothing exceptional about his delivery, although it's worth noting that he throws from a lower arm angle than many do, presumably giving him more of a platoon split. This is where it's extra important for him to have a reliable, consistent changeup.
Hultzen isn't the guy people expected. He was certainly well off my radar, as I was convinced the M's would go for a position player. But he does have the stuff and command of a potential fast riser, so between him and James Paxton, this organization should have a pair of solid collegiate pitching prospects not far from knocking on the door. Would I rather have had Rendon? Off the top of my head, sure. But that's because I've been thinking about Anthony Rendon for a year whereas I've been thinking about Danny Hultzen for 15 minutes, and the people in the most informed position went with the latter. I will pretty much always defer to the organization when it comes to the draft, so I'm looking forward to Hultzen's debut. In the minors, and, hopefully, then in the Majors.