On August 12, 2017, the New York Mets traded Neil Walker to the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later. One month later, that player has been identified as right-handed reliever Eric Hanhold
RHP Eric Hanhold
Ht: 6’5″ Wt: 220 lb. Level: Carolina League (A)
Age: 11/1/93 (23) Age Dif: 0.2
Acquired by Brewers: 2015 Sixth Round Draft Pick out of the University of Florida
MLB Pipeline Rank: Not Ranked
2017 Stats: 8-3, 3.94 ERA, 30 G, 3 GS, 2 SV, 64.0 IP, 1.438 WHIP, 8.4 K/9
Analysis: It should come as a shock to no one the return for Walker turned out to be another right-handed reliever who has a promising arm with a fastball that gets into the mid-90s. That’s not where the similarities end for him. Like the other relievers, he has the potential to be a big strikeout guy, but he struggles with control walking too many batters.
It was that fastball and his plus slider that led the Brewers to make him a sixth round draft pick. It also led the Brewers to initially try him out as a starting pitcher. With him posting a 5.50 ERA and a 1.544 WHIP in his first two seasons, the Brewers made the inevitable move and made him a reliever this season.
Despite his repeating this level and his moving to the bullpen allowing him to focus on his two best pitches, Hanhold has not had the breakout season one would have hoped he would have.
However, he had a very strong second half of the season with an 1.53 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 29.1 innings.
That should not distract from the fact this is a pitcher with undeniable talent. Like with most prospects, he just needs to find a place where he can go to best develop that talent.
For him, the change of scenery and organization might just be what he needs. Certainly, the Mets have had more than their fair share of talented fastball/slider pitchers, and they have done quite a good job in developing them. To that end, Handhold just might be in the right organization for his development, which could make him the biggest winner in this trade.