Hankins was a candidate to become the first high school right-hander ever selected No. 1 overall, but he slid in the 2018 Draft after he missed a month with shoulder tightness. The Indians snapped him up with the second of their two first-round picks that June, signing him for an over-slot $2,246,022 as the 35th overall choice. He has had no health issues as a pro ball and reached low Class A at the end of his first full season.
Hankins works at 92-95 mph and tops out at 97 with his fastball, and while he has some feel for throwing it to both sides of the plate, it features so much run and sink that it's sometimes difficult to command. He lacked a reliable breaking ball as an amateur but has made strides with a hard curveball with depth that was his best pitch at times in 2019. His changeup fades and sinks and shows flashes of being a plus pitch but can get too firm, and he'll also mix in an occasional slider.
Athletic and possessing good body control for a lanky 6-foot-6 youngster, Hankins should be able to harness his arsenal and develop average control and command. He needs to get stronger and could add some more velocity once he does. He likes to vary his tempo to throw off hitters' timing and can use a Johnny Cuetoesque shimmy to do so.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Hankins entered 2018 with a chance to become the first high school right-hander selected No. 1 overall, but that ended when he missed a month during the spring with tightness in his shoulder. The Indians used their second of two first-round picks to grab him, signing him for an over-slot $2,246,022 as the 35th overall choice. Though Cleveland held him to three innings in his pro debut, his shoulder issue was determined to be muscular in nature and he's expected to have no restrictions in 2019.
When fully healthy, Hankins had the best fastball in the 2018 Draft, operating at 92-96 mph and reaching 98 with electric life and the ability to spot it to both sides of the plate. His fading changeup has the potential to become a plus offering, though his breaking pitches still need work. His hard curveball has its moments and he also has begun using a slider, but both were fringy for much of his high school senior season.
Hankins generates his premium fastball with little effort in his delivery, which bodes well for his future health and command. He'll vary his tempo to throw off hitters' timing, at times throwing in a Johnny Cueto-like shimmy. He must add strength to his lanky 6-foot-6 frame and could add velocity once he does.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 80 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50
Hankins thrust himself into consideration to become first high school right-hander to go No. 1 overall in the Draft with an outstanding summer on the showcase circuit, finishing by striking out 27 in a pair of six-inning starts to help Team USA win the 18-and-under World Cup. He wasn't the same pitcher as a senior, however, leaving a mid-February start early due to shoulder tightness, an issue that was determined to be muscular but affected his stuff when he returned after a month-long layoff. The injury as well as a strong commitment to Vanderbilt made Hankins a wild card heading into the Draft, though neither deterred the Indians from selecting him with the No. 35 overall pick. He ultimately signed for $2,246,022, slightly more than his slot's recommended value of $2,016,400.
When he's 100 percent, Hankins has the best fastball in the 2018 Draft, sitting at 92-96 mph and reaching 98 mph with the promise of more velocity as he fills out his 6-foot-6 frame. Radar-gun readings alone don't make his heater special, as it also has electric life and he can spot it to both sides of the plate, and he could dominate amateur hitters while relying almost entirely on his fastball if he wanted. But there were also times during the spring where his fastball parked around 90 mph with less movement than usual.
Hankins also has a fading changeup that has the makings of a plus pitch, though he'll need to come up with a reliable breaking pitch to become a front-of-the-rotation starter. His hard curveball showed improvement during the summer and he also began trying a slider, though neither were particularly impressive during the spring. He repeats his low-effort delivery well and will vary its tempo, at times adding a Johnny Cueto-esque shimmy to add deception.