The first round of the MLB draft will be held on June 4. For the teams that have an early pick on day one, it is essential for them to get a player who can help the team quickly. While drafting a player is not an exact science, teams do their best to ensure they are getting a talented player who can move quickly up the system and help them reach the ultimate goal. College players tend to be more refined and closer to being major league ready. High school players can be taught by the organization’s own coaches but require longer time in the minors. Depending on a team’s needs and evaluation of talent, the draft picks tend to vary in age and maturity level.
Ethan Hankins 2018 Draft Profile
Ethan Hankins is a senior at Forsyth Central High School in Georgia. He has good size for a starting pitcher at 6-foot-6 and 200 lbs. There are always questions and risks regarding young players like Hankins. He just turned 18-years old on May 23 and is one of the youngest players in this draft class. He was also a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game First Team All-American. While he has committed to Vanderbilt, if a team drafts him early enough they may be able to sign him. It is a chance some teams may take considering his upside.
Prior to a shoulder injury in February, the right-hander was sitting at 92-96 MPH and able to touch 98 with his fastball. His slider was devastating and his changeup was turning into a plus pitch. His command is also something that intrigues scouts. Hankins is very advanced for an 18-year old. It is uncommon for a high school pitcher to be able to change speeds, command the strike zone, and also change his delivery to deceive hitters. Once he fills out the 6-foot-6 frame and develops stronger leg drive, he has the talent and acumen to become a top of the rotation starter in the major leagues.
The aforementioned shoulder injury may give teams pause. While he had excellent velocity before the injury, scouts have noted his fastball velocity has dipped to 90-92. He has also gone to a curveball and abandoned the slider which was a plus pitch. His curveball hasn’t shown the bite that the slider had. After watching video on Hankins, it seems he has a straight up follow through. Although his arm movement is fluid, his body is somewhat stiff.
Hankins has committed to Vanderbilt and much of his signing with a major league team depends on whether he is drafted early. MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the No. 21 prospect in this year’s draft. Fangraphs.com has him going at pick No. 31 to the Tampa Bay Rays while Baseball America has him going at No. 8 to the Atlanta Braves. Hankins may be the most unpredictable pick in the draft. He has the upside of an ace. He also has the chance to be a bust considering the recent shoulder injury. The positives could happen if he gains strength, keeps command of all three pitches and rediscovers his velocity. The negatives are that he has had a shoulder injury and hasn’t come back the same. Hankins could honestly go anywhere from the fifth pick to all the way down to after number 30.
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