Mariners prospects shine in Rising Stars game

Over the years, the Arizona Fall League has become a place where teams send their best young talent, players that haven’t yet made it to the big leagues but are expected to shortly.
In short, it has become a place where future stars of major league baseball make a name for themselves.
On Saturday afternoon, two Mariners prospects turned the Rising Stars game into their own personal showcase.
Nick Franklin, a 20-year-old shortstop, went 4-5 with a home run, two doubles, four RBI and three runs scored. His homer came on the first pitch he saw from last summer’s No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole and went to opposite field.
Those numbers earned him the game’s MVP award and could spring Franklin towards a strong second half in the AFL after a middling first half in which he had just three extra base hits coming into the Rising Stars game.
If Franklin can continue to improve and show he can have success at the plate against the very best in the minors, it won’t be long before Franklin finds himself playing shortstop in Safeco Field.
Also on display for the Mariners that night was their No. 2 overall selection from the 2011 draft, left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen.
Hultzen started for the West squad alongside Cole in what was a showcase of the top two pitchers from last year’s draft class.
After Cole took all the headlines in June as the No. 1 overall pick, it was Hultzen who stole the focus in Saturday’s game.
Hultzen pitched just two innings but he struck out the side in the first and allowed just a walk (to the Nationals’ Bryce Harper) in the second. His ability to get ahead of hitters and attack them on the inside part of the plate with fastballs and sliders impressed every scout in attendance.
Hultzen has a 1.62 ERA in 16 innings pitched in AFL play including a WHIP of 1.03. He’s been nothing short of dazzling in Arizona this fall and looks to have a very good chance of breaking spring training a part of the Mariners starting rotation.
Both Franklin and Hultzen are on their way and on Saturday they showed why.

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