5 former "Can't Miss" Mariners prospects that ended up doing just that

Discover the Mariners' top prospects who didn't live up to the hype. From Mike Zunino to Dustin Ackley, find out what went wrong to these highly touted players.
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2. Danny Hultzen, LHP

The choice to put Hultzen at number 2 and not number 1 is because of all the "What ifs?" that comes with talking about Danny Hultzen. What if his shoulder didn't give out on him? What if the shoulder was repaired and he came back from it? What if he never got injured in the first place? What if the Mariners did not draft Hultzen at all? I could go on and on.

Danny Hultzen was the second overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, just one spot behind Gerrit Cole. Hultzen was drafted out of the University of Virginia, and by all accounts, this was seen as a home run pick by the Mariners. His fastball was around 95 MPH, and had plus stuff to complement that fastball. He made it all the way up to AAA in his first minor league season, striking out 136 in just 124 innings. He also had a 3.05 ERA and a WHIP of 1.30. He had some major walk issues that season, walking 5.4 batters per 9 innings.

Then came the bad luck. Hultzen missed most of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury, and that would come to define his Mariners career. After the 2023 season, Hultzen had to have surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff and torn labrum, effectivlly ending his 2014 and 2015 seasons. While rehabing in 2016, Hutzen yet again suffered another injury to his throwing shoulder, ending his tenure for the Mariners. He took 2017 off to finish his college degree, before signing with the Chicago Cubs in 2018.

Hultzen was the last member of the 2011 draft class to make his Major League debut when he debuted for the Cubs. He pitched one inning, giving up just 1 hit and striking out 3. He would go on to make just 5 more appearances before being non-tendered by the Cubs in the next offseason. Then Covid happened, and he called it a career.

Danny Hultzen turned out to be a bust, but I do not like using that word with him. You can not hold his shoulder falling apart against him. When looking back, you wish the Mariners went in a different direction. You can not project injuries, and nobody saw that coming. Some players the Mariners could have drafted instead of Hultzen were Francisco Lindor, Jose Fernandez (R.I.P.), Sonny Gray, and Blake Snell.