Hancock has been and still is in the conversation to go number one overall. He is that strong of a pitcher. Typically, it seems that people will go for the bat first leaving Hancock to fall a few spots to a team’s draft room ruckus in celebration. I mean, if I’m the Royals picking at number four or the Blue Jays picking at number five and Hancock is available, I’m screaming from the rooftops and dancing a jig. Wow, there is some depth in the top of the draft and Hancock really exhibits that.
Here at Royals Farm Report, we’ve started our Draft Profile series for the 2020 MLB Draft. At the bottom of this report, you can look at some of the other guys we’ve written up. The reports I write are mostly written by using information from watching guys play. At times I’ll supplement information from other sources. This season has really made it much tougher to scout these guys because of the lack of 2020 game film. However, I’ve looked back to 2019 and looked at various scouting videos as well. If I take information from another source, it will be noted in some way.
Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
Hancock is a scout’s dream. If you were building a right-handed pitcher on MLB The Show, you would basically be cloning Hancock’s attributes. He stands 6’4”, weighs 215 pounds, and has a power pitcher’s build. He has been very durable except for one little incident last season. Hancock had a little bit of a lat injury as a sophomore and was shut down for a short time. He had no issues this spring.
As a sophomore, Hancock gave up just 58 hits in 90.1 innings. That equates to just 5.79 H/9. Hancock also posted a measly 1.80 BB/9 and a hearty 9.68 K/9 rate. This year, that strikeout rate has ballooned to 13.9 K/9 while the walk rate has actually diminished to 1.23 BB/9. That type of strikeout rate paired with such a low walk rate is absolutely amazing. Pair that with the fact that Hancock does not give up a lot of hits and a team really has to have their A-game to beat him on the mound. That is why you are hearing about a potential ace in Hancock.
Hancock throws four pitches that all flash plus potential from a three-quart arm slot. His fastball is electric, he has a wipe out slider, a hammer curve, and a change up that disappears.
Hancock’s fastball has some arm side run and sink. In his last start against UMass, Hancock was working 95 to 97 with ease in the first inning. Once he got settled and into the stretch a few times, he was working 93 to 95 and bumping up to 97 occasionally.
His slider is 84 to 86 and takes a left-hand turn just before it gets to the plate. The pitch looks just like his fastball until the last second before it drops off the table. A lot of hitters have a really hard time picking up the dot and therefore never have a chance to hit the pitch. This is a real swing and miss pitch.
The curve ball seems to be more of a show pitch that Hancock uses to steal a strike. But every now and then he busts it out when hitters are looking slider and diving over the plate. The 78 to 80 mile per hour pitch stands up and then buckles righties taking a big drop into the strike zone. It has 11 to 5 movement and is probably really effective because Hancock doesn’t throw it often. I really think he should use it more.
Hancock turns his change up over extremely well creating a hard moving pitch that tumbles away from a left-handed hitter. This pitch is also incredibly hard for all hitters to pick up the spin leaving them swinging at air.
Hancock looks the part and acts the part. He could easily go number one overall and could be everything a drafting team dreams he could be. It’s hard to see Hancock failing to reach his potential as the top of a rotation stalwart in the majors. He is easy to dream on and someone is going to be thrilled they have the chance to take him. The way the draft seems to be shaping up, Torkelson, Martin, and Lacy are penciled in as the first three picks. That would give the Royals the opportunity to draft Hancock, Veen, Nick Gonzales, or another top player. Hancock would slot in at the top of our pitching prospects immediately. That isn’t a knock on Singer, Lynch, Kowar, Bubic, or anyone else, it’s just he’s that good.
If you missed one of our draft reports, look back over them and find someone you would be interested at number four overall.
Image from Detroit Free Press with the photo credited to Kristin Bradshaw from the University of Georgia.