Young players have become more prominent in Major League Baseball. Properly valuing farm players' talents, timetables and opportunities will help rotisserie and head-to-head managers win their fantasy baseball leagues.
11. Danny Hultzen, SP, Seattle Mariners
Hultzen: smoother operator
Hultzen was selected with Seattle's first-round pick (second overall) in the 2011 MLB Draft. The 23-year-old had two very different halves to his first pro season last year: In 13 starts for Double-A Jackson, he went 8-3 with a 1.19 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings; at Triple-A Tacoma he was 1-4 with a 5.92 ERA, 43 walks and 57 K's in 48 2/3 frames.
The University of Virginia alum has the perfect size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) to be an effective starting pitcher, and he uses his low three-quarters arm slot from the left side to disguise his pitches very well. For a southpaw at his age, his mechanics are quite advanced, although his lack of command at the highest minor league level could be a cause for concern. He also owns two plus secondary pitches in his slider and changeup, both of which he keeps down in the zone. Hultzen won't light up the radar gun, but he's consistently in the low-90s with his fastball, which will play in the majors.
Despite dealing with a mild strain to his right hip flexor this spring, Hultzen is still very much in the competition for a rotation spot on the opening day roster. He may have a leg up over the likes of Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Brandon Maurer. The M's might choose to play it safe, though, and have Hultzen start the year in the minors, especially since he struggled so much at Tacoma a year ago. There is a good chance he'll be part of the five-man rotation at some point this season, and he has the stuff to become a middle-of-the-rotation mainstay behind Felix Hernandez for years to come.
On to No. 12
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About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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