Danny Hultzen Scouting Report (2011)
For awhile now, draft discussion about University of Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen has revolved around the young lefty not being worthy of a top three pick in this June’s draft due to being more of a high floor player who lacks the ceiling of other draft prospects. My question is, “are we talking about the same Danny Hultzen?” After seeing him in person, I’m left wondering if the idea of his being a “safe” pick is a bit misguided due to the “funk” in his delivery and 2010 reports of his velocity sitting in the 88-91 MPH range.
What I witnessed was a unique (in the best of ways) pitching prospect with plus velocity from the left side and quite possibly the best changeup I’ve ever scouted. In the two plus years of Scouting the Sally, top pitchers scouted include Julio Teheran, Tyler Matzek, Mike Minor, Manny Banuelos, Zack Wheeler, Jed Bradley and Arodys Vizcaino. In terms of present stuff, Hultzen was the best of the bunch, and it may not even be that close.
- Excellent pitchers build; Quad muscles literally show through his uniform pant
- Little room for additional growth; Does he need it though?
- Very athletic for a prospect with “funk” in his delivery
- “Big League” pre-game preparation; Went through drills with focus and determination
- Set up opposing hitters beautifully; Had little trouble working in/out, up/down, or mixing fastball/breaking pitches
- 3/4 whip arm slot allows for excellent deception and perceived rise on fastballs up in the zone
- Hides the ball extremely well and provides no “hitting window” for batters to time a proper load from
- Fastball 92-95 MPH through the first 7 innings inc. 94 MPH from stretch; Worked full IP at 94-95 MPH
- Dropped to 90-92 in the 8th
- When down in the zone, fastball had heavy sinking action
- Fastball velocity played up at 96-98 MPH due to deception
- Plus present command with the fastball; Worked offering to both sides of the plate and changed eye level frequently
- Changeup 82-85 MPH; Sat 77-79 MPH late in the outing
- No difference in arm action from the fastball; Pitch features heavy drop and arm side run
- Devastating to lefties; Hultzen can start it 6-8 inches outside and run it back across the corner
- Slider 85-87 MPH; 83ish MPH late in the outing
- Pitch flattened out when left up; Showed harder bite down in the zone
- Third best offering at present; Lags considerably behind plus fastball and changeup
After scouting Hultzen, I have little doubt he could get major league hitters out if he threw in a big league game today. Whether at the back of a bullpen, or at the tail end of a rotation, Hultzen is just that good. If somebody were to offer me a wager as to who would be the first player from this draft class to pitch in the major leagues, I’d take Hultzen and comfortably give the field.
At his peak, Hultzen is an all star level starter or truly elite closer with the ability to strike out seven-plus per nine innings, walk less than three per nine, and maintain ground ball rates in the 50% range. Left-handed pitchers with similar peripherals include Jaime Garcia. This recipe all but guarantees big league success at a high to elite level. In most instances, I come away from scouting a player seeing areas of weakness and Hultzen did not have any. If the Pittsburgh Pirates really do perceive themselves as a player or two away from contention, then Danny Hultzen would be a safe, but strong pick.
23 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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