Mariners add to pitching depth, taking Georgia’s Emerson Hancock at No. 6
For the third year in a row, Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle Mariners have used their first-round selection on a college pitcher, taking Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
Hancock, 21, joins 2018 first-round pick Logan Gilbert and 2019 first-round pick George Kirby as collegiate pitchers Seattle has taken to open their draft. Both Gilbert and Kirby are top 100 prospects according to MLB Pipeline. Additionally, Hancock was MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 prospect for this year’s draft.
Last year, Hancock was actually the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, as he has the size, stuff and command that teams look for in top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers. But a minor lat injury last season followed by being not quite as sharp in four starts this year pushed him down some draft boards, and he was the third pitcher selected in the 2020 draft after Miami took Minnesota’s Max Meyer and Kansas City selected Texas A&M’s Asa Lacy.
Hancock is 6 foot 4, weighs around 215 pounds and has four really good pitches, according to MLB Pipeline. His fastball is anywhere from 93-99 mph and he typically sits in the 94-97 range, earning a 65 grade (20-80 scale) for the pitch from the website (snything above 60 is seen as above average). He pairs that with a really hard slider that is in the mid-80s and grades at 60 on the scale, and he also has an over-the-top curveball and a good changeup that are both at least average in many scouts’ eyes.
Emerson Hancock, Buckles pic.twitter.com/FlxtxHktjz
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 10, 2020
After a rocky freshman season where he had a 5.10 ERA, Hancock became one of the best pitchers in the country in 2019, posting a 1.99 ERA, striking out 97 and walking 18 in 90 1/3 innings. He went 8-3 in his 14 starts and was a Second-Team All American and First-Team All-SEC member.
In four starts in 2020, Hancock went 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA, striking out 34 and walking just three. Heading into the year, in addition to being a favorite to go first overall, Hancock was a preseason First-Team All American.
Mariners Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Hunter was thrilled Hancock was available at No. 6.
“Emerson is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound power arm with four plus-pitches and plus-command,” Hunter said in a press release. “His combination of stuff, strike-throwing and size profiles him as a true top-of-the-rotation starter. We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to select such a special talent with the sixth pick.”
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 11, 2020
The Mariners now have some great top-end depth with the starting pitchers in their farm system, as Hancock joins Gilbert, Kirby, recent trade acquisitions Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield, and 2019 early-round draft picks Isaiah Campbell and Brandon Williamson. Those players will have a chance to join current No. 1 starter Marco Gonzales, who signed a long-term extension this offseason, in the Mariners’ starting rotation in the near future.
The Mariners have no more picks Wednesday night. On Thursday, the team will pick five times between the second and fifth rounds, including twice in the second round.