The Seattle Mariners have taken Danny Hultzen with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. The Mariners were widely connected to Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon with that pick, which suggests that drafting teams might know something about Rendon's shoulder that we, the fans, don't.
Hultzen is a lefty pitcher from the University of Virginia, and he's the sort of pick who's hard to ever really feel happy about, if you're a fan. Not that he can't be a good player, but when your team drafts a player, you want to be able to dream about what might happen five years down the road - what if he's the next Albert Pujols? Or C.C. Sabathia?
Well, in Hultzen's case, you can't do that. True, anything can happen, unlike other top pitching prospects, like UCLA's Gerrit Cole or high schooler Dylan Bundy, Hultzen's upside looks like it's probably limited - he has good command as a lefty and is likely to be ready to pitch in the majors soon, but his velocity isn't outstanding. There's nothing wrong with all that, but with a top-five pick in the first round, I would only want to pick someone like Hultzen if I thought my team was going to be back in the playoffs very soon. Generally, you shouldn't draft for need, but if you're willing to sacrifice that much upside with an early-first-round pick, there might as well be a good reason. Look for Hultzen to begin his pro career at the Class A+ or Class AA level and move quickly.