Danny Hultzen jumped directly to Double-A after the Mariners took him with the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft and now Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the left-hander from the University of Virginia is headed to Triple-A after just 13 pro starts.
Hultzen was ridiculously good at Double-A, throwing 75 innings with a 1.19 ERA and 79/32 K/BB ratio while allowing just two homers and a .151 opponents’ batting average. The promotion puts him one step from the majors at age 22.
Along with Hultzen the Mariners are also promoting their top position player prospect, shortstop Nick Franklin, to Triple-A after the 2009 first-round pick hit .322 with four homers and an .822 OPS in 57 games at Double-A.
Both were selected for the Double-A All-Star game, which was played last night, and clearly the Mariners wanted them to participate before moving up to Triple-A.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.