UPDATE 4:41 P.M.: In the Baseball America ranking of “tools,” Hultzen is ranked as having the best command of any collegiate pitcher, ahead of Taylor Jungmann of Texas and Noe Ramirez of Cal State Fullerton. He’s also rated, significantly, as the college player — pitcher or position player — closest to the majors, ahead of Gerrit Cole of UCLA and Anthony Rendon of Rice.
UPDATE 4:31 P.M.: Turns out we had the wrong vision for the Mariners. Instead of dreaming of a Justin Smoak-Dustin Ackley-Nick Franklin-Anthony Rendon infield, we should have been musing about a Felix Hernandez-Michael Pineda-Danny Hultzen top of the rotation.
I fully admit to whiffing on this pick — but I feel better because Baseball America, ESPN, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com all did too.
UPDATE 4:30 P.M.: The Baseball America scouting report on Hultzen (whom they rate as the No. 4 overall prospect) notes that he worked 88-91 mph in his first two college seasons but now sits at 93 and has touched 96.
They wrote, “His changeup is his best secondary pitch, and he commands it well and gets good fade thanks to a low three-quarters arm slot. His slider also shows flashes of being an above-average pitch. His arm slot can make it difficult to find consistency in the pitch, but scouts say he’s now closer to the higher arm slot he showed in high school than the low three-quarters he had the last two years at UVa.”
Hultzen also has served as a first baseman and DH during his three years at Virginia. Baseball America notes that he is the “safest” pick among pitchers in the draft.
I’m not the only one who was stunned when the Mariners bypassed not only Anthony Rendon but also Francisco Lindor and Bubba Starling to take a pitcher — Danny Hultzen, a lefty from the University of VIrginia.
Hultzen is regarded as the pitcher closest to the major leagues, and was under consideration by the Pirates with the No. 1 overall pick. Word came out last week that Hultzen had put out word to teams that it would take $13 million to sign him.
Hultzen, 21, is 11-3 with a 1.57 ERA in 15 starts as a junior at Virginia.
The 6-foot-3 Hultzen has limited opponents to a .189 average, walking 17 and striking out 148 in 103 1/3 innings.
“Danny is one of the top pitchers in the draft with tremendous athletic ability,” Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara said in a statement. “We look forward to having him in our organization and working his way towards being part of our major league rotation in the near future.”
The Cavaliers advanced to the Super Regionals with a victory over East Carolina yesterday. Virginia will play the winner of the Los Angeles Regional, UC Irvine, next weekend in Charlottesville.