01/25/12 10:00 PM EST
Mariners quintet among Top 100 prospects list
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Hultzen is a rookie in every sense of the word, but he is on the 40-man roster and will be in big league camp competing for a job. The Mariners have signed veteran starters Kevin Millwood and Oliver Perez to Minor League contracts that could keep them from pushing pitchers like Hultzen and Paxton. But Hultzen will get a good look in Peoria, Ariz."He's on the 40-man roster, so we'll bring him into Spring Training," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "We'll watch him perform. We don't have any great expectations, but we don't have any limitations on him. Anybody who has seen him pitch feels he could be a fast-track guy, but until you see him pitch on a big league field it's hard to say. "He probably needs some development time in the Minors, but like I said, we're not going to put any limitations on him. He's a very talented guy." The Mariners have been relentless in their pursuit of talented young pitching, and Hultzen was a major addition when they selected him last summer. Hultzen was 11-3 with a 1.57 ERA for the University of Virginia and was a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year. He had 148 strikeouts and 17 walks in 103 innings while holding opponents to a .189 batting average. He was also a two-time Academic All-American, and that is part of why he is held in high regard by the Mariners. "Obviously he has great stuff -- this kid can throw 95-96 miles an hour and he has a good slider and a good changeup," Zduriencik said. "But the thing that stands out is his composure and his intelligence. He brings a lot to the table and knows how to pitch. Beyond stuff, that's what makes a good pitcher."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.