16. Eric Hanhold, RHP
Height: 6’2”, Weight: 175 lbs.
DOB: 7/15/95 (23)
Acquired: Trade (Milwaukee Brewers)
17 G (0 GS), 25.1 IP, 21 H, 8 R, 8 ER (2.84 ERA), 9 BB, 32 K, .323 BABIP (Double-A)
14 G (0 GS), 19.0 IP, 25 H, 15 R, 15 ER (7.11 ERA), 7 BB, 20 K, .429 BABIP (Triple-A)
Eric Handhold attended East Lake High School and really set himself apart from his peers in his senior year, when he posted a 1.14 ERA for the season and helped lead the Eagles to the Class 8A District Championship in 2012. He received a baseball scholarship to the University of Florida and made his intentions clear that he intended to get an education and play for the Gators no matter where any MLB clubs drafted him in the 2012 MLB Draft and how much money they offered. The Philadelphia Phillies ended up drafting him with their last pick, the 1238th selection in the draft, which also happened to be the very last pick in the entire 2012 draft. As promised, Hanhold turned them down and went on to the University of Florida that fall. Hanhold’s numbers were fairly pedestrian with the Gators, where he was a teammate of former organizational reliever Johnny Magliozzi and infielders Peter Alonso and Jeremy Vasquez. Splitting his time in the starting rotation and the bullpen, he posted a 5.88 ERA as a freshman in 2013, a 4.20 ERA as a sophomore in 2014, and a 4.26 ERA as a junior in 2015. Despite the unimpressive numbers, Hanhold’s stuff was as good as it had been when he was in high school, and MLB clubs still coveted his arm. He was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 6th round of the 2015 MLB Draft and signed with the club, agreeing to a $250,000 signing bonus.
The 21-year-old right-hander made his professional debut with the AZL Brewers and was quickly put on a fast track and promoted to the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers by the end of the year. He spent the entire 2016 season with the High-A Brevard County Manatees but didn’t exactly impress, posting a 4.84 ERA in 101.0 innings, allowing 120 hits, walking 33, and striking out 64. He rebounded to a degree in 2017, when he was promoted to the Double-A Carolina Mudcats. Pitching out of the bullpen, he posted a 3.94 ERA in 64.0 innings, allowing 71 hits, walking 21, and striking out 60. That September, he was named as the player to be named later in the Neil Walker trade from August. He did not pitch with the Mets in 2017, because the minor league season ended, but he began the 2018 season with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. In roughly two months there, he posted a 2.84 ERA and was promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Due to injury, his time on the mound there was limited, and he was generally ineffective when he was able to get on the mound. He was promoted to the Major Leagues on September 1st, and pitched in a handful of games before having his season end due to a strained left oblique muscle.
Hanhold throws from a three-quarters arm slot with a simple tall-and-fall delivery. He is a prototypical power pitcher, throwing a plus fastball and above-average slider. The fastball hovers around 95 MPH, topping out at 97 MPH. The pitch sometimes gets some arm-side run but its main feature in addition to its premium velocity is its heavy sink, allowing Hanhold to limit fly balls and induce plenty of groundballs. The slider sits in the high-80s and features sharp, tight break, flashing plus at times. The right-hander is confident in both his fastball and slider, and is able to throw either in any count.
Steve Sypa says:
Hanhold is one of many cookie-cutter fastball/slider relievers that the Mets have amassed over the last couple of years. It isn’t necessarily an exciting profile, but it can be an effective one. Hanhold had an good season in the minors last year and probably could have pitched in the major leagues more than the 2.1 innings he actually did.
Lukas Vlahos says:
Hanhold’s minor league season was excellent, regardless of the 7.11 ERA he posted in Triple-A. He posted a robust 11.37 K/9 in Double-A and maintained strong peripherals in Vegas, which mean more than any desert-inflated ERA does. He should’ve been in the majors sooner - chalk up another loss to the Mets failure to push prospects - and the sample size we saw him for is meaningless. Still, he fits as a good up-and-down type arm, with the potential to develop into a low-end late-inning options. Not a super exciting piece, but a useful one nevertheless.
Kenneth Lavin says:
Last season was an up and down season for Hanhold. Hanhold was excellent for Double-A Binghamton, posting a 2.84 ERA and 2.74 FIP with 32 strikeouts and nine walks in 25.1 innings before earning a promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. The former Brewers farmhand struggled a bit after the promotion, posting an ugly 7.11 ERA with 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 19 innings pitched. While his topline performance wasn’t very good, Hanhold’s peripherals showed signs that he may have gotten a bit unlucky pitching in the desert, as his FIP was a pretty solid 3.43 during his time there. He eventually made a cameo appearance for the big league club in September, throwing 2.1 innings of 7.71 ERA ball, although he once again posted an FIP (4.02) that was much lower than his ugly ERA. Hanhold figures to be a contributor to the big league bullpen once again this year, even if he has to start the season in the Syracuse bullpen before earning a shot to contribute.