The Mariners have agreed to terms with No. 6 overall pick Emerson Hancock, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). The University of Georgia righty will receive a $5.7MM signing bonus that closely aligns with his $5,742,900 slot value.
Regarded by many as the best right-handed pitcher in this year’s draft, the 6’4″, 213-pound Hancock has dominated SEC opposition since the beginning of his sophomore year with the Bulldogs in 2019. Dating back to last season, Hancock has pitched to a 2.31 ERA with averages of 10.3 strikeouts and 1.6 walks per nine innings pitched — including a gaudy 34-to-3 K/BB ratio in 24 innings prior to this year’s shutdown.
Hancock, 21, landed between fourth and seventh in this year’s class on the rankings of Baseball America, MLB.com, ESPN, FanGraphs and The Athletic. His obviously strong control of the strike zone is complemented by a fastball in the 93-97 mph range — Callis notes it can top out at 99 mph — and a changeup that he seldom used in college ball despite the fact that scouts consider it a potentially plus offering. Reviews on his slider are a bit more mixed, though most reports have it as an above-average offering as well.
The Mariners have drafted a college player with their first-round pick in each season under GM Jerry Dipoto, including three straight college right-handers. Hancock joins George Kirby and Logan Gilbert as another high-end, first-round arm to add to a growing stable of impressive pitching prospects in the Seattle system. Given his lofty draft status, Hancock could emerge as the best of the bunch, joining rotation hopefuls Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn as potentially controllable long-term cogs on the starting staff.
Both Baseball America (No. 56) and FanGraphs (No. 78) already rank Hancock within MLB’s 100 best prospects; Baseball America lists him third in the organization behind only Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic — and places him just two spots ahead of presumptive 2020 first baseman Evan White on the aforementioned top 100 list.
I asked this question this morning. Glad I have my answer!
looking forward to see this guy in the rotation one day along with some order of Gilbert, Gonzales, Sheffield, Dunn, Kirby, and Williamson.
He was expected to sign for slot at the time of the draft, so it just seemed to be a question of when.
The real surprise, at least for me, is that Seattle didn’t take any real risk in the draft. I anticipated at least some in rounds 3-5.
Hopefully some of these prospects actually pan out for the Mariners… It has been so long since we have even made it to the playoffs…
Yeah it would be nice to see these names take us to our first World Series.
Wow, 3rd best already? That’s outstanding. We already had a top farm system. I’m beyond impressed that he ranks so high. How many top 100 prospects do the Mariners have now? Are Sheffield and Dunn still prospects? Top 100?
Julio Rod, Kelenic, Hancock, Gilbert, White, Marte and Kirby? If Marte hasn’t broken top 100 yet, he might if things start moving for minor leaguers sometime this decade.
Marte cracked BA’s top 100 in late January at number 92, but has since fallen off.
That’s weird, because like virtually every other A-ball prospect, he wasn’t in his respective MLB camp this spring, so he didn’t do anything to hurt his stock, and there certainly weren’t 9 players drafted worthy of top-100 status.
But it’s not a big deal. He probably will be a top-100 prospect (again) with all the big evaluators, and more importantly, he has a good chance at being a star in Seattle’s infield in a few years.
Sheffield and Dunn are no longer in the Top 100.
Are the only ones currently in the top 100 with George Kirby just outside it.
Hancock has three plus pitches, and his curve was looking like a plus pitch after an adjustment. He might have been the best pitcher in the draft. There were rumblings that his health history may have scared off some teams, but that’s an area where Seattle has been effective at evaluating and handling.
Hancock has real ace potential. I’d have him behind Rodriguez and Kelenic as well. Though Sheffield and Dunn aren’t on any top-100 lists, and they’ll likely move past prospect status as well, Seattle could have 7 top-100 prospects on most lists by the end of the season (Rodriguez-Kelenic-Hancock-Gilbert-White-Marte-Kirby), with a possible wild card 8th (Williamson).
The ultimate goal isn’t to have the strongest farm, or course, but it certainly makes their future look promising.
Getting Emerson Hancock makes losing 94 games last year alot easier to live with, I’ll tell ya that much
The next draft is going to be interesting–possibly maddening.
Seattle is projected to have the second-worst record, behind Baltimore. Very likely they finish 25-30. Dead-last is a real possibility.
But because of the short season, Manfred will have the ability to change the rules for the 2021 draft, including the order. He could implement a lottery, keep the 2020 order, or do something more creative (as I understand it).
There are two prospects that jump out: Rocker and Leiter. Obviously things could change, but if Seattle ends up with the worst or second-worst record and don’t get one of the top-2 selections, there will be plenty to fuel the conspiracy theories regarding Manfred’s focus and interests.
I thought Manfred wss gloomy to be good for MLB I am changing my mind. He isn’t as crooked as Stern was but catching up. I know a lot of FB guys would add Goodell in that mix but he comes down with a heavy hand on all teams.
Just noticed going not gloomy