1.6 RHP Emerson Hancock – Georgia
21 Years Old – Throws: R Bats: R – 6’4 – 213 lbs – ETA: 2023
This standout from Georgia, Hancock struggled in his first year to a 5.10 ERA in 77.2 innings pitched. He walked 3.8 batters per 9 innings and had a 1.34 WHIP. The positive about Hancock’s freshman year at Georgia was his promising 0.8 HR/9 allowed and his 8.7 K/9. In his second season, he fared much better having a 1.99 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, and a 9.7 K/9 in 90.1 innings pitched.
One thing that became imminent with Hancock was he had a slight health concern after he had a lat injury in 2019 limiting him to 14 games pitched all year. When Covid-19 canceled the 2020 college baseball season, this in turn crumbled Hancock’s chances to prove he was healthy and continue his success over a full season. Let’s talk about his stuff, Hancock had one of the best repertoires this draft. He has a fastball that’s registered at a 2,430 RPM (MLB average 2,250 – 2,350 RPM) and 15.4 inches of vertical break on his fastball that he touches 97 MPH and is consistently 93-95 with arm side run on it as well.
His best secondary offering is his slider that has 6.3 inches of vertical movement and batters had a 57.1% swing and miss rate on that pitch. He also displays a curveball with 12-6 like movement that he uses sparingly and a surprisingly good changeup that has a chance to be a plus pitch going forward with its late sinking action and 11.8 inches of vertical movement.
Mechanically, he’s fluid and repeats his delivery well. Hancock throws from a three-quarter arm slot and commands all his pitches making for low walk rates. I’ve even seen him throw from a slightly lower arm slot at times just to create a little deception in his delivery. The Mariners started strong with getting the best pitching prospect this draft and he should rise rather quickly through the minors, making for another solid upside pitcher in their system. Don’t look now but the Mariners are building something and maybe competing sooner rather than later.
2.43 OF Zach DeLoach – Texas A&M
21 Years Old – Bats: L – Throws: R – 6’1”- 210 lbs – ETA: 2023
This is an interesting pick, DeLoach who had an up-and-down college career, where at Texas A&M he struggled to hit consistently and ended up producing a .261/.368/.397 with 11 home runs and a .766 OPS in 558 plate appearances. However, his time in the Cape Cod League and Northwoods League would prove differently, he hit .335/.416/.514 with 10 home runs and a .930 OPS in 382 plate appearances. In 2020, DeLoach set a career-high with six home runs in only 18 games and 77 at-bats. Much like Hancock the shortened season didn’t let DeLoach show scouts that he was capable of putting up his Cape Cod numbers over a longer stretch, this dropped his draft stock just a bit.
In terms of a stance, he is quiet in the box while having an open stance that lets him get to the inside pitch better. He hits the inside pitch extremely well from his quick hands and smooth left-handed stroke with good gap-to-gap power in his bat. As for over the fence power there’s some projection as we’ll start seeing 10-15 home run power out of his bat. There are no issues with using a wood bat as he hits better using them (that is what makes his college struggles so interesting.)
In the outfield, DeLoach has average range and a solid accurate arm so corner outfield seems like the logical position for him, but he can play all three spots well, so there’s versatility. He has average speed to round out his tools. The Mariners dipped into the college pool quite a bit this draft, the high upside of DeLoach could reek of major benefits for them as he’s one breakout away from being on everyone’s radar.
2.64 P Connor Phillips – Mclennan Community College (TX)
19 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’2” – 190 lbs – ETA: 2025
Instead of committing to Louisiana State, Phillips would attend Mclennan Community College, it worked in his favor as he was the first junior college player taken off the board at pick number 64. Phillips is another high upside arm taken this draft by the Mariners.
Phillips has a three-pitch mix that includes a fastball, curveball, and changeup. His fastball is his best pitch that at times has some late movement but is 92-93 and can touch the high 90’s. His best secondary pitch is his curveball that has plenty of depth to it in the high 70’s. The one problem with his curveball is he hangs it too much. However, once his release point becomes more constant that could also become a plus pitch going forward. He’s mainly a two-pitch pitcher but he also has a changeup in the low 80’s that could truly make his arsenal that much better if he can polish it to be more consistent, this will be especially needed when he advances to higher levels of the minors.
I worry a bit with his mechanics as he puts some stress on his elbow with the way he throws. Plus, it’s a high effort delivery making for even more worry. The one thing about his delivery is it’s deceptive and he hides the ball well. This makes his fastball look harder than it is and in turn, harder to square up. Phillips is one name to watch for the Mariners as the stuff is there for the 19-year-old but the control and command aren’t, that’s where it’ll be one interesting follow for any baseball fan.
3.78 2B Kaden Polcovich – Oklahoma State
21 Years Old – Bats: S – Throws: R – 5’8” – 180 lbs – ETA: 2024
Polcovich didn’t break out until 2019 when he played in the Cape Cod League and hit .305/.426/.473 with four home runs and a .899 OPS in 162 plate appearances. Before Covid-19 ended the 2020 college season Polcovich continued his tear hitting .344/.494/.578 with two home runs and a 1.072 OPS in 64 plate appearances. Now, this is a confusing pick to me, he only managed 283 plate appearances in three seasons and struggled in his first season. While his tools are there his relatively small track record just concerns me that he may not hit his potential.
But the switch-hitting Polcovich has some upside with the bat, while he has very little over-the-fence power his high batting average and on-base percentage still makes him a top of the order threat going forward. His swing from the left side looks more natural and that’s where most of his gap to gap power comes from. Polcovich hits to all fields well, making for a balanced hitter at the plate. His quick swing generates plenty of line drives and Polcovich has a slight slide step for his timing purposes.
He looks to remain at second long term with his below-average arm and decent range, but he also can play third base and all three outfield positions. While he has average speed he won’t be much of a base-stealing threat going forward. In the end, Polcovich needs some polishing on his tools but he still has a good chance to exceed current expectations of being a utility player and be a steal in the third round.
4.107 3B Tyler Keenan – Ole Miss
21 Years Old – Bats: L – Throws: R – Bats: L – 6’4” – 240 lbs – ETA: 2024
The Ole Miss product, Keenan, is a power-hitting third baseman that might fit more as a first baseman just based on his build and range at third. In 2020, he was mashing in 14 games, hitting .403/.488/.791 with 7 home runs and a 1.279 OPS in 80 plate appearances. However, in his college career, he amassed 599 plate appearances and a .306/.419/.550 with 31 home runs and a .969 OPS. Keenan also spent 10 games in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .300/.432/.467 with one home run and a .899 OPS.
Keenan is a pure power hitter that breaks all the way down to his swing, he generates torque in his hips and his power is mainly to his pull side, he has a longer swing meant to create loft and consistent fly ball contact. Unlike most power-hitting prospects, Kennan has low strikeout rates and good plate discipline. He had a 17.4 K% and a 12.0 BB% during his time at Ole Miss.
He’s a below-average runner and defensively, I believe he has a future at first base in the long term as he has an above-average arm but lacks the necessary range to stay at third base in the long run, even if his fielding regresses Keenan’s bat will guide him to a DH role.
5.137 P Taylor Dollard – Cal Poly State
21 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws : R – 6’3” – 195 lbs – ETA: 2023
Dollard is a lengthy athletic right-handed pitcher, while his fastball is only 89-90 MPH consistently it touches 93, his ability to control it and create sink with it makes it overall his best pitch. His secondary offerings include a slider, curveball, and changeup. The best is his slider that has plenty of horizontal movement in the low 80’s and a curveball that has some sharp bite to it in the low 70’s. The changeup he’ll occasionally use just as another offering for the hitters but has some potential with more use.
He’s an absolute control freak, in fact splitting time in the Cape Cod League and Cal Poly State he had a 2.2 BB/9 in 111.1 innings. He also had a 9.8 K/9 as well in that period. Dollard has an act for developing weak contact with his arsenal and that’s where he could rise rather quickly for the Mariners.
He has good arm speed and uses a nice downhill plane to place all his pitches down in the zone making his sinker that much better. Dollard was getting some 3rd round attention during the draft, however, I believe because he’s more of a reliever going forward he dropped to be a fifth-round pick. If his stuff continues on the path it is, the Mariners might’ve gotten a steal in the final round of this draft.
References (1): https://www.prepbaseballreport.com/