The Seattle Mariners made a u-turn ahead of the 2011 MLB Draft, turning aside Anthony Rendon and taking Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen. Rendon had the upside, and many were expecting the Mariners to jump at the chance to take the player seen as the No. 1 prospect in the 2011 MLB Draft before injuries derailed his junior season. Instead, Seattle went with Hultzen in an effort to bolster the pitching staff despite all the talk centering around position players.
Hultzen finished the season with an 11-3 record for the Cavaliers as the team's No. 1 pitcher. He compiled a 1.57 ERA along the way, striking out 148 and walking only 17. Hultzen boasts four pitches -- a four-seam fastball, changeup, curve and slider. His fastball sits high-80s to low-90s and his slider appears to be a plus pitch, if just barely.
There's no question he's a quality pitcher, but this move certainly came out of left field. Seattle had been looking at Rendon, Bubba Starling and Francisco Lindor, but went a completely different direction, surprising fans who had been paying attention. It doesn't mean it's bad, and it's almost certainly not, it's just a surprising choice considering what many thought ahead of the draft.
The Mariners are done for the day and will get back at it tomorrow as the draft churns through an obscene amount of rounds on the road to 50 over the next two days.
We'll be tracking the day's events and will have more on the Mariners' pick in our 2011 MLB Draft . StoryStream. For a local look at what the Mariners are planning, head over to SB Nation's Lookout Landing.