Seattle Mariners Draft Danny Hultzen

There are two ways you can take the news that the Mariners drafted left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen:

  1. Defer to the experts and hope for the best
  2. Piss and moan that they didn’t draft the guy you’ve heard of a little bit

I’m always entertained by the people who are mad because we didn’t draft the “big name”.  Oh, because YOU’RE so knowledgable about college sports!  YOU’RE sitting around watching all these baseball games!  You’re NOT just spouting off names that so-called experts have been listing on their Mock Drafts for months on end.

If I’m going to stay consistent with my reaction to the recent Seahawks draft, then I’m going to be in the same camp as Option 1 and defer to Jackie Z and company.

But, that doesn’t necessarily make me feel any better.

Baseball’s draft is so fucking stupid!  In just about every other sport I can think of, when you draft someone in the first round, you’re getting someone who can help you right away.  In baseball, not even the very top pick will be helping out your Major League ballclub right away.  It would be like if everyone from the NFL draft was sent over immediately to Europe or Canada for a season or two … you mean I’m likely to wait a solid 2-3 years to see if this guy can even rise through the ranks to become a rookie?

Then, just go ahead and tack on the fact that this guy is a pitcher.  Great.  Because pitchers never develop arm problems ever!

I don’t know why I’m all Negative Nellie here today.  Probably because drafting pitchers high in the draft brings with it the same kind of pressure (and success rate) as drafting Quarterbacks high in the draft.  Most of the time, they’re NOT going to pan out the way you want them to.  They injure their shoulder, their elbow, their wrist.  They get Dead Arm.  They lose a few miles per hour on their fastball.  Their secondary pitches don’t develop.  They lose stamina after the 4th or 5th innings.  They become relief pitchers.  They injure themselves a second time.  They rehab for a year.  They work at it, they come back, they get their first big crack at the big leagues.  They get shelled.  They get sent down.  They’re out of the organization.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that happen.  Ken Cloude everybody!

As for Mr. Hultzen, if I were you, I’d temper my expectations right now.  Yes, his college numbers are amazing – but EVERYONE’S college numbers are amazing if they’ve been drafted.  They say he can hit the mid-90s on his fastball, but I’m telling you right now, expect him to throw 91 consistently (and be pleasantly surprised if it’s higher).  But, that hopefully won’t matter if he’s got the command of his secondary pitches.

He’s not Felix.  But, then again, how many Felixes do you think exist in the world?  He’s not Pineda, but as far as I’m concerned until Pineda discovers an out pitch that’s not a 98 mph heater, the jury is still out on him.  Hultzen might be BETTER than Pineda when all is said and done.

He might also be the second-coming of Jason Vargas.  That’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world, but you’d hope to get more out of the Number 2 pick.

Anyway, it’s all a crapshoot.  Just because he isn’t the highest rated “prospect” doesn’t mean he won’t be a great player.  The battlefield of Major League Baseball is littered with disemboweled high-rated prospects.  Most prospects are just that, prospects.  They might have raw ability, strength, size, whathaveyou; but they don’t have what it takes to make it to the finish line.  That mental fortitude.  That ability to listen to coaches and apply their lessons.

Hopefully, this guy has that.  I believe he does, because I still believe in Jackie Z.

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