The current school of thought is that the Marlins can do no wrong with the third overall pick of the 2020 MLB Draft. Although we are still roughly six months from selection day, three names separated themselves from the pack over the course of 2019: Georgia starting pitcher Emerson Hancock, Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson, and Vanderbilt shortstop Austin Martin. The drop-off after the trio on the draft boards is fairly significant as of now, with everyone else still having a lot to prove. A lot can change before June, but adding any of those three player looks like it would be another huge shot in the arm for a farm system that already ranks in the top five across baseball.
For the Marlins, it will be a case of selecting the best player still available after the Tigers and Orioles make their picks. But in terms of who would be the best fit for the future, Hancock likely makes the most sense considering the recent acquisitions of Lewin Díaz and Jazz Chisholm, who play Torkelson's and Martin's positions, respectively. How they—and Isan Díaz, considering Martin can play second base, too—begin next season could impact this thinking.
Due to Detroit's collection of promising young arms and Baltimore GM Mike Elias’ history of success with drafting position players during his time in Houston, the latest mock draft indeed has Miami taking Emerson Hancock with the No. 3 pick. If this scenario plays out, it would be the first time that the Marlins have selected a college pitcher with their first pick since choosing Andrew Heaney ninth overall in 2012.
Miami already has a solid group of promising young pitchers. Sandy Alcántara, Pablo López, and Jordan Yamamoto are already at the major league level, with Sixto Sánchez, Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garett, Trevor Rogers, and Nick Neidert closing in on debuts of their own. However, not all of those names will pan out and become above-average major league starters, and even fewer will become top of the rotation mainstays. A lot of the prospects in Miami's pipeline are notoriously high-risk/high-reward, including the pitchers. Adding talented college arms—who are typically easier to project—to the ranks would remove some of that risk and elevate the system overall to that next level. Plus, the mantra states that you can never have enough pitching, and Hancock looks to be a good one.
As a sophomore in 2019, the 6' 4'' right-hander went 8-3 with a 1.99 ERA over 14 starts, primarily in the tough Southeastern Conference. He also added 97 strikeouts with only 18 walks in 90 1⁄3 innings. His repertoire includes a mid-to-high 90s fastball, and a nasty mid-80s slider. He also mixes in a curveball at times. Often compared to 2018 No. 1 pick Casey Mize due to their similar size and backgrounds (Mize just blew through High-A and Double-A this season), it is worth noting that Hancock missed some time with a lat injury around the middle of the college season, as was not quite so dominant upon his return to the field.
In short, the Marlins look to be in a great position as owners of the third pick of the 2020 draft. As it stands, adding either Emerson Hancock, Spencer Torkelson, or Austin Martin would be a great move for an already elite farm system. Hancock is arguably the best fit as of writing this, but a lot can change in six months.
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