It usually takes years for an MLB amateur draft to show results, but two of the first three players picked in 2011, Trevor Bauer and Danny Hultzen, may be close to making their big league debuts. The fourth player picked, Dylan Bundy, is being called by some the top prospect in all of baseball. The first overall pick, Gerrit Cole, hasn’t had the same sort of impact so far in the Pirates organization, though he remains a top prospect.
Danny Hultzen (2011 2nd pick, Seattle Mariners) LHP, University of Virginia
The presence of Danny Hultzen in the Mariners’ system helped make the decision to trade Michael Pineda feasible. Hultzen, who turned 22 last November, started the season in Double A after being part of the spring competition for a spot in the Mariners’ rotation.
Through 12 starts at AA Jackson, Hultzen was 7-3 with a 1.28 ERA and .92 WHIP. He had 75 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings and had allowed only two homers. He did, however, have 31 walks.
The Mariners could use some help in their rotation, so they could give Hultzen a shot at some point this season. As of mid-June, Hector Noesi and Blake Beavan had ERAs over 5.90. Felix Hernandez skipped a start with a tweaked back and Kevin Millwood had to leave the game in the 6th inning on June 8 with a strained groin, the game that turned into a six-pitcher no-hitter.
Trevor Bauer (2011 3rd pick, Arizona Diamondbacks) RHP, UCLA
After brief appearances in High A and AA in 2011, Bauer, 21, began 2012 at AA Mobile. He went 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 48 1/3. He also had 26 walks and a 1.22 WHIP. Bauer was then promoted to AAA Reno, where he went 3-0 in his first five starts with a 1.97 ERA. Bauer’s K/9 rose from 11.2 to 11.8 and his BB/9 went from 4.8 to 3.9.
As of mid-June, there was no space for Bauer in the Diamondbacks’ rotation. Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill and surprising rookie Wade Miley aren’t going anywhere. But Joe Saunders is 31 and will be a free agent at the end of the year. The lefthanded Saunders could be a candidate to be traded as the deadline approaches, which would make room in the rotation for Bauer.
Dylan Bundy (2011 4th pick, Baltimore Orioles) RHP, Owasso HS, Owasso, OK
Bundy’s sensational start to his pro career has made him one of the most highly prized prospects at any level. In his first 13 innings of pro ball, Bundy allowed no hits. In 30 innings of low A ball, Bundy had an ERA of 0.00 (2 unearned runs) and .233 WHIP. He struck out 40 and walked 2. Bundy was a bit more human after his promotion to high A, but evaluators are already looking forward to see what he could do at higher levels.
Bundy is still only 19, so don’t expect to see him this season. But if you are in a keeper league, Bundy should at least be on your radar.
Ben Hargrove is a fantasy baseball expert for sites like DraftStreet.com.