The wait until Mariners baseball will return is less than a week old and we have at least 2 months to go. But as of now, the MLB Draft is still scheduled to take place.
In this year’s MLB Draft, the Mariners will hold the 6th overall. But this is a draft, unlike any others. College baseball has been shut down and many high schools are shutting down their activities for most, if not all, of their seasons. This means scouting will be impossible and could lead to some wild and crazy movement on draft day.
Of course, it could lead to the most boring and predictable draft ever. We simply do not know. But there is no doubt that MLB front offices will reconvene sometime soon and will turn their attention to their draft boards, albeit without a lot of the information they are accustomed to. The Mariners will need to be ready for any reality, which means, we will as well.
This is why, today, we take a look at the best prospect in this draft class and determine what would happen if he magically fell to #6.
His name is Emerson Hancock and he is arguably the best prospect in the 2020 draft. The 6’4″, 215 lbs right-handed pitcher attends the University of Georgia and has big-time stuff to quickly jump to the big leagues.
Hancock, who won’t turn 21 until May 31, is drawing early comparisons to Detroit Tigers prospect Casey Mize, a number 1 overall pick in his own right. Hancock’s arsenal is built around a plus fastball that sits 94-97 and touches 97 MPH with riding life up in the zone.
The heater is backed up with an arsenal of off-speed pitches, all 3 of which are above-average or better. His best off-speed pitch is his slider, which sits in the mid-80s with good shape and break. The changeup, a pitch he doesn’t use often, may eventually be his best offering as it shows great fade and Hancock throws it with great arm action. The curveball is firm but has a good shape, giving Hancock 4 legitimate out pitches.
He can throw all of his offerings for strikes in any counts and should generate plenty of swings and misses as a result. Hancock is a good athlete who repeats his delivery, with a solid frame to help mitigate injury risk. Simply put, health could be the only thing standing between Hancock and multiple All-Star games.
The ceiling for Emerson Hancock is a multi-year Cy Young Award winner and the floor is probably as a #3 starter. There really shouldn’t be any scenario where Hancock reaches the Mariners, but stranger things have happened. And if he does fall in Seattle’s lap, GM Jerry Dipoto and Scouting Director Scott Hunter shouldn’t try to outsmart the room. Hancock is special.
It shouldn’t take Hancock long to reach the big leagues and would have a good chance of being up with the Mariners as early as 2022, following a similar path to Logan Gilbert. If this minor miracle did happen, Hancock would challenge Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez for the #1 rank in the Mariners farm system.
We don’t know when or if MLB will conduct its draft. And we don’t know if Emerson Hancock will get past the #1 overall pick. But if he does and finds his way to Seattle, Mariners fans everywhere should do backflips in the streets.