Mariners shut down No. 4 prospect for 2021

September 9th, 2021

HOUSTON -- Emerson Hancock has been shut down for the season due to a shoulder issue, but there is nothing structurally wrong and the Mariners are sending him to their Spring Training facility in Arizona to build strength in the area.

“No setback or structural issues,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a text message, after the club’s 8-5 win over the Astros on Wednesday. “With so little season left, we’ve decided it’s best to shut him down and focus on building strength, providing a foundation for future growth. Simply seeing a bigger picture, and Emerson is on board.”

Hancock, the club’s No. 4 prospect and the No. 36 in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, was scratched from his scheduled start with Double-A Arkansas earlier this week. He’d made three starts there after being promoted from High-A Everett in early August, compiling a 3.29 ERA and holding hitters to a .196/.255/.216 (.470 OPS) slash line with 13 strikeouts and four walks in 13 2/3 innings.

Hancock, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 Draft, has dealt with lingering shoulder issues at times throughout the summer, missing more than a month beginning in late June, which meant he had to sit out the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. This has been his first year as a professional after being limited to the Mariners' alternate training site during the pandemic-impacted season last year.

The 22-year-old is a huge part of Seattle’s pitching future, so the conservative approach by Mariners management is not surprising.