Mariners’ Danny Hultzen May Finally Be Ready for the Majors in 2015


Mariners prospect Danny Hultzen has had a tough professional career so far. The lefty was drafted 2nd overall out of Virginia in the 2011 draft, with many thinking he would be able to reach the Majors quickly. It didn’t quite work out that way, as injuries have derailed his development and has caused him to miss all kinds of time.

The injuries that Hultzen has suffered have been quite serious, having torn his labrum as well as injuring his rotator cuff in 2013. He was unable to pitch after being drafted in 2011, and the latter injury kept him out of action for the entire 2014 season. The 25-year old’s prospect status has understandably taken a hit over the last few years, as he now ranks 25th among all Mariners prospects on The team has not given up on the promising lefthander, mostly because of the success he has had whenever he has been able to step on the mound.

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The 6 foot 3, 210 pounder was drafted so high because of his dominance of college hitters and advanced approach to pitching. He has two plus pitches, with a low 90’s fastball that he spots very well and a deceptive changeup that makes batters look silly. He posted very nice strikeout numbers in 2012 and 2013 split between Double-A and Triple-A, with a total of 178 in 159 innings. He struggled with walks in 2012, with a whopping 75 total walks in 128 innings. He improved his walk rate and had his sights on the big leagues in 2013, striking out 34 and walking 7, with a 2.05 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 6 starts. Unfortunately, his season was then cut short and he was never able to make it to Seattle.

After sitting out the entire 2014 season, Hultzen was invited to big league Spring Training this year, carrying very little buzz. He was only able to pitch one inning before being reassigned, but it was a scoreless and hitless inning. As far as talent goes, Hultzen should undoubtedly be a mainstay in the Mariners rotation by now. Obviously the injuries have set him back considerably, but when he does make it to the big leagues, I think he will be ready to make a big impact right away. There has been nothing but good things said about Hultzen’s work ethic and desire to continue his path to the big leagues. He will start the 2015 season in the Minors, but if he can stay healthy and have some success, I think that he has a chance to make an appearance in the big leagues by mid-season.

If the lefthander puts up strong numbers in the upper Minors like he did in 2012 and 2013, it will be really tough to justify keeping him out of Seattle. The Mariners already have some promising young starters in Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, and Hultzen may be able to provide them with an additional boost at some point in 2015. His numbers to start the year will be very interesting to keep an eye on, as many people will be rooting for him to make a smooth recovery and realize his potential.

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