The Seattle Mariners don’t have to worry about Danny Hultzen studying instead of pitching this fall. He’s going to the Arizona Fall League, where he could help his chances of reaching the major leagues next season.
Hultzen, the Virginia left-hander picked second overall in June’s draft, beat the Aug. 15 deadline when he signed a major league contract that included a $6.35 million bonus. According to the Seattle Times, he’s guaranteed $8.5 million — the fifth-largest deal in draft history — and could receive as much as $10.6 million.
When Hultzen came out of St. Albans in 2008, he and his family told major league clubs he wasn’t interested in signing a professional contract. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him in the 10th round anyway. During this year’s negotiations, there were reports he might want to take classes this fall, but his deal and his destination make his priority clear.
”In any deal, you have to go past the point of comfortability, and the Mariners and Hultzens were able to do it,” Hultzen’s adviser, Brodie Van Wagenen, told the Seattle Times in mid-August. “Both sides were able to make extreme compromises to get it done."
In the AFL, Hultzen will face several elite prospects, including Scottsdale Scorpions outfielders Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Tuesday night, Trout hit two home runs for the Los Angeles Angels in a win over the Mariners.
Hultzen will not pitch for a Mariners minor league affiliate this season, but two fellow Cavaliers have made their professional debuts in the system. Catcher John Hicks, a fourth-round pick, is at low-Class A Clinton, while seventh-round third baseman Steven Proscia is at high-Class A High Desert. All three are expected to take part in Seattle’s instructional league program after the minor league seasons end.