Of the plethora of relief arms the Mets have acquired in trades over the past two seasons, Eric Hanhold (acquired from the Brewers for Neil Walker in 2017) has shown the most promise. Over 25.1 innings at Double-A, Hanhold dominated, posting a 11.37 K/9 en route to a 2.84 ERA and a 2.74 FIP. The results weren’t as sterling at Triple-A, where he posted a ghastly 7.11 ERA, but the peripherals and ERA predictors (69.5 DRA-) were strong, indicating his rough surface level production was more a product of the PCL than anything else. It’s a profile that deserved a long major league trial in a lost season.
Instead, Hanhold got little more than a cup of coffee with the major league side. While the Mets gave 10 or more innings to guys like Chris Beck, Tim Peterson, Jacob Rhame, and Paul Sewald, Hanhold wasn’t called up until September, and tossed only 2.1 innings before ending his season on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Those innings weren’t particularly impressive — two strikeouts, a walk, four hits, and a 7.02 ERA — but it’s an essentially meaningless sample, and it shouldn’t overshadow the strong work he put in on the minor league side in 2018.
Hanhold has a prototypical right-hand relief profile; a hard, sinking fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can touch 97, and a tight, upper-80s slider. As is, he’s got the stuff to work as a middle-reliever in a major league bullpen, and it’s conceivable that he could improve further at only 25. A grade or half-grade improvement to either his fastball or his slider probably makes him a seventh inning arm, and improvements to both could make him a bullpen fixture. It’s a profile we liked enough to rank Hanhold 16th on our top 25 prospect list.
Heading into 2019, Hanhold should compete for one of the final spots in the Met bullpen, though it seems that Tim Peterson has edged him out so far in spring training. Hanhold definitely has more upside than Peterson, however, and he should be among the first arms the Mets look to shuttle up to the majors (along with guys like Tyler Bashlor, Daniel Zamora, Chris Flexen, and Stephen Villines).
Despite the crowd, Hanhold should get an extended look at some point, and a chance to work his way into a more significant role. That would give the Mets at least one notable bullpen piece from their mid-season trades of the past couple seasons.