Danny Hultzen‘s comeback was easily one of the best stories in the Cubs organization over the last few seasons, but he’s ready to close that chapter and start a new one. As first reported by Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post, Hultzen has chosen to retire and will transition to a front office role with the Cubs under assistant GM Craig Breslow.
Local baseball: Danny Hultzen of Bethesda/St. Alban’s/UVa, who was the second pick in the 2011 draft, is retiring from playing. He will take a job in the Cubs front office, working as a pitching development assistant under Craig Breslow.
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) January 14, 2021
Originally drafted between Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer back in 2011, Hultzen spent eight years in the minors due to injuries and poor performance. Hardly the first to fall victim to the weight of expectations, the can’t-miss prospect almost allowed his burden to crush him. Because he was worried about falling behind, Hultzen chose to conceal shoulder pain by changing his mechanics until things finally got so bad that he was forced to undergo two separate surgeries.
That resulted in him throwing only 18.2 total innings from 2014-18, a little less than half of which came in the Cubs system. After dominating during a brief stint at Triple-A in 2019, the lefty was called up to Chicago and made his debut on September 8. He went on to make five more appearances, logging a total of 3.1 innings with five strikeouts and three walks.
Now he’ll be able to guide other young pitchers as they come up through the system, perhaps ensuring they don’t make some of the same mistakes he did. Hultzen also has more experience than most when it comes to overcoming adversity, something the Cubs actively look for when scouting players. His experience should be a valuable part of Breslow’s new pitching infrastructure as it really gets put in place this season.