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Mariners’ top-pick Hultzen draws comparisons to Lee

- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SEATTLE (AP) — Danny Hultzen, taken by the Seattle Mariners with the No. 2 pick on the amateur draft, agreed Monday night to an $8.5 million, five-year contract.

The deal includes a $6.35 million signing bonus.

Hultzen, a 6-foot-3 left-hander from Bethesda, was 12-3 with a 1.37 ERA in 18 starts for Virginia. In three seasons, he was 32-5 with a 2.08 ERA.

Because the St. Albans grad still had one more year of eligibility at Virginia, the Mariners had until 9 p.m. PDT to sign him.

Hultzen, a 10th-round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks three years ago, was a bit of a surprise pick for Seattle. The Mariners have had one of the worst offenses in baseball the past couple of seasons. It was expected that they would use their second pick for a highly regarded position player such as outfielder Bubba Starling, who went to Kansas City with the fifth pick, or third baseman Anthony Rendon of Rice, the sixth pick by Washington.

Hultzen had been compared to Philadelphia southpaw Cliff Lee for his mid-90s fastball and pinpoint control. He held opposing hitters to a .189 batting average with 17 walks and 148 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings last season.

He also can hit. He played first base and DH, batting .330 with 25 RBI, and had 18 steals in 19 attempts during his career.

The 21-year-old was the ace of the Cavaliers, who advanced to the College World Series last spring.

The Mariners also signed second-rounder Brad Miller, 21, a shortstop out of Clemson. He received the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award, after hitting .395 with 53 runs scored, 11 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 50 RBI in 56 games this past season.

The junior from Windermere, Fla., hit .339 with 173 runs scored, 36 doubles, eight triples, 16 homers and 135 RBI in 191 games (189 starts) in three seasons with the Tigers. He had a career .451 on-base percentage, while ranking seventh in school history with 143 walks.

The club failed to sign third third-rounder Kevin Cron, a 6-4, 240-pound high school catcher and first baseman out of Phoenix. But the Mariners signed 43 of 51 players selected, and 10 the first 11.

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