The Mariners just called up a young shortstop, Brad Miller. As Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto points out, Miller leaves the Rainers with a 22-game hitting streak. As Mike also points out, pitching prospect Dany Hultzen -- the second pick in the whole danged draft last summer -- is just off the Disabled List and started Thursday night. How'd he do?
Hultzen ... was terrific. Limited to 75-80 pitches by a pregame decree, Hultzen managed to make it through six economical, shutout innings of two-hit ball. He walked one and struck out six, threw 52 of his 78 pitches for strikes, had excellent fastball command, and baffled many hitters with his change-up.
It was a terrific outing for Hultzen, who missed a little more than two months with a rotator cuff strain. There is still plenty of time left for Hultzen to have a very successful 2013 season.
Earlier this week, the Mariners' top pitching prospect, Taijuan Walker, made an impressive Rainiers debut. I can't think of a good way to look this up ... Can you think of a more impressive Triple-A tandem than Walker and Hultzen right now?
Anyway, this is a good reminder that we might have given up on the Mariners' current management team a little too early. Jack Zduriencik was hired to rebuild the organization after a series of disastrous decisions, and so far he's made a few of his own. First there was Chone Figgins, and lately the Great Triple-Headed D.H. Monster. Which has worked exactly as well as we expected (decent hitting, terrible fielding, replacement-level contributions).
But Jack Z's success was always going to rest on player development, and the results haven't been good. They seem to be getting better, though. Here's a list of Seattle's key young players of the last few years:
These are very loosely labeled, of course. Ackley looked really good as a rookie, just like Franklin has. And there's still plenty of time for Ackley and Smoak and the others to move up a slot. Well, not plenty of time. Some time. I'll be surprised if more than one of those "misses" becomes a good every-day player for the M's over the next couple of years.
Nobody bats a thousand with prospects, though. This might not be the best time to be a Mariners fan. But it's hardly the worst.
For much more about the M's and their ongoing efforts, please visit SB Nation's Lookout Landing.