Former Virginia pitching ace Danny Hultzen will enter the 2013 baseball season as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the sport.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo released his list of the top 100 minor league prospects in baseball on Wednesday, with Hultzen ranked No. 18. He's the second-highest lefty pitcher on the list, behind only Diamondbacks prospect Tyler Skaggs (No. 10 overall).
"If his control issues are a thing of the past, he’ll help in Seattle sooner rather than later," Mayo wrote.
Hultzen went 9-7 with a 3.05 ERA in 25 minor league starts in 2012, his first full season of pro baseball after being taken by Seattle with the second overall pick in the 2011 draft. Hultzen dominated at Double-A Jackson (8-3, with a 1.19 ERA and a .151 opponent's batting average) but struggled with his control after a mid-summer promotion to Triple-A Tacoma. Hultzen walked 43 batters in 48.2 innings at Triple-A, compared to just 32 walks in 75.1 innings pitched at Double-A.
"Most see that as a blip on the radar," Mayo wrote of Hultzen's control issues, "and still feel his stuff and pitchability should have him ready for the big leagues very soon."
Hultzen is part of a Seattle farm system that put five players on the MLB.com top 100 list, the best of any major league organization. Hultzen ranks second in the Mariners' organization behind right-hander Taijuan Walker (No. 5 overall).
Hultzen is among the pitchers who will report to major league camp for the Mariners on February 12.