2020 MLB Mock Draft: Breaking Down Predictions for Emerson Hancock, Top Pitchers

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock throws a pitch during the first inning against Mississippi in an NCAA college baseball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The pool of premier pitching prospects for the 2020 MLB draft is led by Georgia's Emerson Hancock and Texas A&M's Asa Lacy.

Hancock is the top right-handed pitcher in the draft class, and he is projected to land anywhere from No. 4 to No. 9 among the second tier of best players available. 

Lacy is regarded as one of the three best players coming from the amateur ranks. While there is a small chance of him going first overall, the likely position for him is No. 3. 

After the top southpaw and right-hander are chosen, a slew of collegiate hurlers could land in the top 15, including Minnesota's Max Meyer. 


2020 MLB 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State

2. Baltimore Orioles: Austin Martin, 3B/OF, Vanderbilt

3. Miami Marlins: Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

4. Kansas City Royals: Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (Fla.)

5. Toronto Blue Jays: Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

6. Seattle Mariners: Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State

7. Pittsburgh Pirates: Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas

8. San Diego Padres: Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA

9. Colorado Rockies: Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

10. Los Angeles Angels: Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville

11. Chicago White Sox: Patrick Bailey, C, NC State

12. Cincinnati Reds: Robert Hassell, OF, Independence HS (Tenn.)

13. San Francisco Giants: Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (Calif.)

14. Texas Rangers: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (Pa.)

15. Philadelphia Phillies: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Calif.)

16. Chicago Cubs: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee

17. Boston Red Sox: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)

18. Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (Pa.)

19. New York Mets: Cade Cavalli, RHP. Oklahoma

20. Milwaukee Brewers: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio HS (Tx.)

21. St. Louis Cardinals: Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech 

22. Washington Nationals: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia

23. Cleveland Indians: Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State

24. Tampa Bay Rays: Casey Martin, SS, Arkansas

25. Atlanta Braves: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn

26. Oakland Athletics: Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor

27. Minnesota Twins: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina

28. New York Yankees: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State

29. Los Angeles Dodgers: Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami


Top Pitching Prospects

Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia

Hancock is viewed as a top-five prospect, but there is a slight chance he drops further down into the late top 10. 

The Athletic's Keith Law projected the Georgia hurler to land at No. 5 with the Toronto Blue Jays but noted there are some concerns about a slow start to the 2020 season. 

Hancock earned a 2-0 record in four starts, but his 3.75 ERA was higher than what you would expect from one of the top SEC.

Law pointed out the lack of change up usage as one of the reasons for allowing 10 earned runs on 22 hits over 24 innings. 

ESPN.com's Kiley McDaniel noted the combination of the slow start this season and Hancock's absence at the 2019 SEC tournament and summer leagues when discussing a potential drop to No. 9. 

When he was healthy in 2019, Hancock produced a 1.99 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 14 starts. 

Hancock has the potential to be the best pitcher in the draft class, and with that in mind, Kansas City or Toronto could go after him at No. 4 or No. 5. 

The Blue Jays have taken a collegiate pitcher in the first round of four of the last six drafts, including Alek Manoah in 2019. 

If Toronto prefers an arm over a bat, Hancock could be the top option, with Meyer and Louisville's Reid Detmers potentially under consideration too. 


Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M

Sam Craft/Associated Press

Toronto is one of the few teams hoping Lacy suffers an unexpected drop out of the top three. 

The Texas A&M southpaw is ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect and No. 1 pitcher in MLB.com's draft rankings.

McDaniel pointed out "the odds are high" that the Miami Marlins choose whichever prospect is left between Lacy, Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson and Vanderbilt's Austin Martin. 

Lacy had a much better conclusion to his college career than Hancock, producing a 3-0 record and 0.75 ERA in the same number of innings pitched. 

That followed up a terrific 2019 in which he conceded 21 earned runs and struck out 130 batters in 88.2 frames. 

The consistency throughout his career should prevent the Marlins from passing up on the left-handed hurler. 

If Miami's selection goes as planned, it would mark the second straight year it dipped into the SEC with its first-round pick after taking J.J. Bleday out of Vanderbilt last year. 


Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota

Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

Meyer is one of the few beneficiaries from the short college season. 

The right-handed pitcher out of Minnesota went 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA and struck out 46 batters in 27.2 innings. 

The increase in punch outs sticks out the most since he fanned only 87 batters in 76.2 innings in 2019. 

Law, who has Meyer landing at No. 10 with the Los Angeles Angels, said Meyer "could be a candidate to go into someone’s bullpen this summer or fall, or at least serve on a taxi squad to come in as a replacement when a pitcher gets hurt." 

That could be a significant factor for any team selecting in the top 10 to consider given how taxed the top-end relievers may be in a shortened season where few mistakes can be afforded. 

Meyer has been projected as high as No. 5 to Toronto by McDaniel, but if the Blue Jays go after Hancock, he may have to wait a few selections. 

Colorado might the intriguing spot for Meyer's development since the Rockies have moved Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland and Brendan Rodgers from the first round to the majors over the last few years. 

But there is a chance Meyer does not drop that far if San Diego opts to take a pitcher at No. 8 over one of the top outfielders. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.