On Wednesday night, the Seattle Mariners drafted Georgia Bulldogs pitcher Emerson Hancock with the No. 6 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
The Cairo native spent three seasons in Athens playing under head coach Scott Stricklin and his hard work finally paid off Wednesday when his name was called. He becomes the 11th Bulldog selected in the first round, and the first pitcher drafted since Robert Tyler was taken 38th overall by the Colorado Rockies in 2016.
In three seasons in Athens, Hancock accumulated a 16-7 record and 3.47 ERA in 33 appearances, all starts. He had 206 strikeouts and 55 walks in 192 innings on his career.
In 2019, Hancock tallied half of his career win total by going 8-3 with a 1.99 ER, which was the 8th best in school history and lowest by a starter since 1977. He started fourteen games with one complete game for the Bulldogs as the team earned the No. 4 national seed in the NCAA tournament and hosted a regional for the second consecutive season.
Hancock was named a Second Team All-American by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball.com, NCBWA and Perfect Game/Rawlings, while earning a Third-Team All-American by the ABCA. He was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, presented to the nation’s best amateur baseball player, and was voted First Team All-SEC by the league’s coaches.
This past season, he helped the team go 14-4 and finish ranked as high as No. 2 (USA TODAY Sports Top 25) in the national polls before the coronavirus outbreak. He made four starts and registered a team-high 34 strikeouts with just three walks. All that in 24 innings while going 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs season was cut short due to outbreak of COVID-19 and Hancock’s career was cut short.
Hancock finished his career with a 16-7 overall record as a starter with a 3.47 ERA in 33 starts. He struck out 206 batters and walked 55 in just 192 innings of work.
“I’m very disappointed we weren’t able to play this year,” Hancock said recently. “We had a really good group of guys. I knew in my heart this was the year we were finally going to break through at the regionals. We had that feeling. We were getting primed to play our best baseball in May and June, and it’s very disappointing we weren’t able to do that. Nonetheless, we had a great group of guys. We certainly had fun in the 18 games we played.”
Even though his career was cut short in Athens, he will be making a good paycheck once he signs his deal. Seattle’s assigned value for Hancock is worth $5,742,900, according to MLB.com.
Some of Hancock’s best accolades at UGA:
- Beat Santa Clara 9-0 on Feb. 21, 2020, with seven shutout innings and eight strikeouts, retired 19 of the final 21 he faced, the only two that reached did via an error
- Beat No. 17 Ga. Tech 6-5 on Feb. 28, 2020, with 10 strikeouts, going 5.2 innings and allowing four runs on eight hits
- In 2019, he led the SEC and ranked third nationally in WHIP (0.84) and finished third in the SEC and No. 20 nationally in ERA (1.99)
- He also allowed zero or just one run in nine of 14 starts in 2019
- As a freshman in 2018, he held opponents to a .242 batting average
- That same year he also pitched six scoreless innings with five strikeouts in debut against Georgia Southern and got a no decision
Other potential UGA players that could be drafted include Cam Shepherd, Riley King, and Ben Anderson.