Fire up the Arkansas to Seattle shuttle. The next prized pitching prospect is ready to impact the big-league club. The Mariner's number four prospect, righthander Emerson Hancock, is on a fantastic run. The former first-round pick turned the corner in June, which coincided with Bryan Woo's promotion to Seattle. Hancock is 4-0 throughout four starts with a 2.16 ERA, holding the opposition to a .236 average. Like most of the Mariner's starters, he also commands the baseball amounting to 24 strikeouts and only four walks this month.
There isn't a spot in the rotation available now, but there could be one shortly. The team must manage Woo and Bryce Miller's workload as the season progresses. Woo has already surprised his previous season's high for innings pitched. Manager Scott Servais and pitching coach Pete Woodworth have a couple of options: calling up Hancock when they feel Woo hit his innings limit. Hancock fired 98 innings for Arkansas last year and is at 65 innings this season. The Mariners usually estimate an extra 20-30 innings for their developing starters, meaning Hancock could get to 120 innings.
Hancock fired 98 innings for Arkansas last year and is at 65 innings this season. The Mariners usually estimate an extra 20-30 innings for their developing starters, meaning Hancock could get to 120 innings. They could also use an opener like Chris Flexen and have Woo pick up the middle innings. Right now, Flexen is only throwing in mop-up duty once a week. It feels like a wasted roster spot.
There aren't any easy answers to this question, as Marco Gonzales has yet to pick up a baseball after suffering a flexor strain. In a perfect world, the crafty lefty would slide back into the five spot in the rotation right when Woo has reached his innings limit. But if this season has told us anything, there isn't a perfect world or scenario. Either way, Hancock is at the doorstep of T-Mobile Park, and it might be time to open the door.