Can you say "Yes, please!" Now, I'm going to tell you "Not gonna happen!" We all know that for the past several months, it's been Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon as 1.A and 1.B for top prospect in this year's draft. What several people don't realize is that Danny Hultzen is almost 1.C. There have even been rumors of him going number one overall which really shows how much several teams covet him. And who wouldn't? Hultzen is the best pitcher on perhaps the best team in college baseball this year. He has stuff, command, mound presence, and he's a smart guy. Any team would be excited to put him in their system.
As for his stuff, he has seen a significant bump this year from incorporating his legs more into his delivery which in turn has added velocity to his fastball, and that is why he's now at the top of his class. As a lefty with 91-93 mph heat and late movement, he can miss bats on that alone. His slider is his second best pitch and his strikeout pitch. He gets very tight spin on it and has some sweeping action. His changeup has potential to be better than the slider as it has great separtation from the fastball and it really tails off late. He also throws a curveball but it has a bit too much slurvy action to it and needs work to seperate from his slider better.
Hultzen is long and lean and fairly athletic with good mechanics. He can actually repeat those mechanics and has good command of all of his pitches. It's not something that will require a lot of work in the minors to polish up and will likely breeze through the minors because of his advanced control. There is a downside to his motion though. His arm slot is a little low and is part of the reason why his slider is so good and why his curve is a little slurvy. It doesn't look like it will be a big ordeal to modify and may help him out in the long run.
His floor is quite high as he's not a big injury risk and his command is already advanced. He'll breeze through the minors and be ready pretty quickly, and with already three above average pitches, he could slot into a rotation in no time at all. His floor is probably that of a #4-5 starter easily with his command even if his changeup doesn't really turn out to be as good as advertised.
I'm hesitant to say Ace with him because of the question marks on his curveball. But, his above average fastball, slider, changeup combination make him a frontline starter for sure and toss in a curve that becomes league average, you have an Ace. It really does help that he's a lefty.
Will that Astros draft him? If so, where?
Not a chance! The Diamondbacks drafted him three years ago in the 10th round and will probably take him at #3 this year if he's still there.
Where is he projected to go right now?
Keith Law has him at No. 3 to the Diamondbacks
Jonathan Mayo has him at No. 3 to the Diamondbacks
Perfect Game USA has him at No. 3 to the Diamondbacks
Baseball America has him at No. 3 to the Diamondbacks
John Sickels has him at No. 3 to the Diamondbacks
Bibliography (Scouting reports and video)
After the jump
Command lefty w/early-season uptick in stuff, some risk of regression; good deception, command, approach; front-end ceiling w/track record.
Reminds me a great deal of Paul Byrd in terms of body, arm slot, stuff, and mechanics. Should profile as a No. 3-5 ML starter with average stuff across the board.
He’s a left handed pitcher from Virginia with a good head on his shoulders (Academic All-America), which gives him a solid presence on the mound. You can see that in his ability to "pitch" which is one of his great assets. He is one of the better college arms this season and has greatly improved his stock from the times I have seen him throw since high school. An aggressive pitcher, Hultzen attacks the strike zone on both right handed and left handed batters.
He will sit 90-93, touching 95 in some starts, with an above-average changeup that has good fading action at 79-82. His slider is fringy and less consistent, projecting as an average pitch with slicing break, and he has but rarely uses a slower curveball that's more of a show-me pitch. His command is usually above-average but he can compete on days when he's not locating as well as he normally does.