Mariners suddenly seem prospect-laden (again)

Otto Greule Jr

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:

Hits:
Kyle Seager
Nick Franklin

Misses:
Dustin Ackley
Justin Smoak
Jesus Montero
Michael Saunders

Who knows?
Brandon Maurer
Mike Zunino
Brad Miller
Taijuan Walker
Danny Hultzen

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.

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