Knowing what we know now, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Seattle Mariners selected Danny Hultzen with the second pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. Hultzen was a player Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara had his eyes on for years, dating all the way back to Hultzen's senior year of high school. At the time, Hultzen was adamant he would attend college -- he came from a family that valued education heavily and made it clear to teams ahead of the draft that there was no way he would sign. And it played out just as many expected as Hultzen was drafted in the 50th round and bypassed the major league to attend college at Virginia.
But this was just the beginning of the relationship between the key players in what's now the Seattle Mariners front office and Hultzen. McNamara kept tabs on Hultzen, according to an interview on 710 ESPN Monday night, and kept a keen eye on his development. As a senior in high school, it was clear Hultzen had loads of potential, and it began to manifest itself in Virginia.
In February, the Mariners began to zero-in on Hultzen, McNamara said in the same interview. As the draft process began, Seattle kept coming back to the junior from Virginia -- a lefty Zduriencik described as "polished" and whose resume speaks for itself. When the Mariners traveled to Boston to face the Red Sox, Zduriencik, McNamara and others made a detour to watch Hultzen pitch, and according to 710's Shannon Drayer, the Mariners general manager came back as giddy as a kid in a candy store. The front office was sold.
By now we should know that the Seattle front office never tips its hand and is one of the most tight-lipped in the league. The team, apparently, went back-and-forth on its pick, and despite rumors of Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor and others, pulled the trigger on the lefty from Virginia.
We'll be back with more on Hultzen and what he brings to the table, but this is the reasoning behind the pick, straight from the mouth of the front office, revealed in interview following Monday's portion of the MLB Draft. Zduriencik used the word "polished" several times, and felt Hultzen could quickly make his way to the big leagues. But the front office felt Hultzen was the best lefty in the draft, and felt he was a good pick for the team when their names were called on Monday evening.
We'll be tracking the day's events and will have more on the Mariners' picks in our 2011 MLB Draft StoryStream. For a local look at what the Mariners are planning, head over to SB Nation's Lookout Landing.