Former First Round Pick Emerson Hancock Shines in Spring Training Debut

Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

There has been a lot said about Seattle Mariners 2020 6th overall selection Emerson Hancock since he was drafted. Many thought he was going to be the best pitcher in that draft class based on his 2019 sophomore campaign, but the Georgia right-hander did not dominate in late February and early March of 2020. He ended up being drafted by the Mariners and then didn't get to pitch because of the pandemic.

After nearly the whole year off of pitching in 2020, Hancock did not reach the 45-inning mark between High-A Everett and Double-A Arkansas due to various injuries. Then in 2022 Hancock nearly got to 100 innings for Arkansas, but his overall "prospect stock" so to say has dipped from the time of him being drafted. However, he had a very nice first outing in Spring Training for the big league team.

On Wednesday, March 1st, Hancock pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for the Mariners and walked one and struck out one. He pitched well and he even hit 96 with his fastball at the top of the zone. It will be interesting to see how he pitches this season and if he can be ready to contribute to the big league team this summer.

Hancock should start the season back in Double-A Arkansas, but that will be his third time there. That is not a bad thing because he got to that level in 2021 and only made three starts. After that he spent all year there last year, so he should start there, but then I would like to see him pitch at Triple-A Tacoma. He only has about 145 innings pitched in the minor leagues, which is about 50 less than in his college career, so he definitely still has some developing to do.

Even if Emerson Hancock does not turn into a front of the line pitcher, I would think if he can be more consistent and get more value out of his fastball, he can be a solid contributor. Maybe the ace potential isn't there, but he could possibly be a number four or five starter that logs innings. That is pretty valuable, and even if the Mariners trade him this summer, he could hopefully help them get something that helps their big league team in 2023.