Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Player Preview: Emerson Hancock
By Marty Foster
Widely considered as the best pitcher in the 2020 class, could Emerson Hancock now fall to the Pittsburgh Pirates at pick seven?
For a long time every mock draft had Emerson Hancock, not Spencer Torkelson, projected as a lock for the number one overall pick to the Detroit Tigers. However, as of late, Hancock has been mocked by most experts slipping down draft boards due to the likes of Torkelson and others. Due to this, he could still be on the board when the Pittsburgh Pirates pick at number seven.
Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 213 pounds, the right-handed, twenty-one year old is easily a top pitcher in the class and arguably the best one of the group. Hancock has all the tools to be a front line pitcher at the next level and should only trend upward.
Starting off with his best pitches which includes a fastball that typically sits in the mid 90s but can get all the way up to 99 MPH, he has an extremely good feel for the zone and often works it to his advantage. Along with a complementing curveball and change up, his other plus pitch is his slider with good movement which is usually the go to strikeout pitch sitting in the mid to low 80s.
As with every prospect, there are some concerns with the young arm. Some experts wonder if Hancock will be able to strike batters out at the next level consistently. However, after what I’ve seen on film, I personally believe he should be just fine at the next level, and with the new regime in charge of the Pittsburgh Pirates putting focus in to the defensive side of the game, as long as he can keep the ball out of the air he will be just fine.
Overall, Hancock has already shown he has the pitch repertoire to be a major league starter. With a little development Hancock could easily climb through the minor leagues quickly and emerge as a top pitching prospect in the game. While he has recently been mocked as a falling prospect right now, I don’t see him falling too far and I believe that the lowest he could go is to the Pittsburgh Pirates at pick seven. If Hancock is on the board (I do not believe he will fall that far though) I think he pretty much has to be the pick for Ben Cherington and company. The talent is to superior to other names that would most likely still be on the board to pass up.
Adding Hancock to a young group of Quinn Priester, Brennan Malone, Tahnaj Thomas, Cody Bolton, and of course Mitch Keller would only bolster the promising young group. If given the chance to do so, the Pirates shouldn’t pass it up.