Welcome to the big leagues, Brandon Maurer.
Thursday afternoon, fans of the Seattle Mariners had hoped to see the rookie hurler make the leap from Double-A to the majors unscathed following his impressive showing in spring training.
Unfortunately, the Oakland A's had other plans (via Yahoo! Sports).
Over the course of six innings, Oakland scored six runs on eight hits, two of which were home runs, against Maurer. Yet, what may have seemed like a step backward for the young Maurer was actually an important step toward the future for the Seattle Mariners.
After all, one bad outing does not make a season, and Maurer will likely have his fair share of ups and downs while in Seattle. More importantly, though, Maurer's appearance should be the beginning of a new era for the Mariners as they hope to move past a decade of mediocrity.
Ever since general manager Jack Zduriencik took over the ballclub back in late 2008, the team has been stockpiling prospects (h/t MLB.com) that fans have been eagerly awaiting to see in action for the M's. After years of seeing a slow trickle of talent make it to Seattle, this year, quite a few potential stars appear to be knocking at the door.
Yet, after Maurer, who turned out to be the biggest surprise this spring, who will the Mariners be tempted to promote this season?
While I can't imagine the M's being in any major rush, here are the first five players I can see the team promoting to the big leagues in 2013.