Up next on The Baltimore Battery Prospect Profiles Countdown is 21-year-old starting pitcher Brenan Hanifee. The 6’5” hurler was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Orioles straight out of Ashby Turner High School in Bridgewater, Virginia.
Hanifee has spent three seasons in Baltimore’s farm system, each of which he moved up a level and stayed on the same team all season. The Orioles have not spared Hanifee any starts, as he started over 20 games in each of the last two seasons. Let’s take a look at Hanifee’s stats before we break down his mechanics.
A back injury delayed Hanifee’s debut in 2016, but in 2017 he played for the Aberdeen IronBirds in the New York-Penn League. Hanifee started 12 games for the IronBirds and posted a 7–3 record with a 2.75 ERA. That is about as good a start as you can ask for a 19-year-old starter straight out of high school. It was at this point that Hanifee started turning some heads amongst Baltimore’s fanbase.
In 2018, Hanifee was called up to Single-A Delmarva and started 23 games. He posted a solid 8–6 record and his ERA remained low at a rate of 2.86. He struck out 85 batters at a rate of 5.8 strikeouts per nine innings, the same exact rate he pitched to in Aberdeen the year before.
Hanifee played the entire 2019 season in High-A Frederick, where he started 22 games for the Keys. His record and ERA took a dip, as he posted a 9–10 record and 4.60 ERA. He still struck out 5.4 batters per nine innings but struggled giving up runs. While it is not the stat line Hanifee or the Orioles hoped for this season, he is still young for a pitcher and will likely be the top pitcher for the Keys next season. Towards the end of the season, Hanifee went 4–0 between July 14 and August 24; his upside is still present, as he showed improvements against Single-A hitters.
Through three seasons in the Orioles’ farm system, Hanifee has started 57 games and posted a 24–19 record with a 3.52 ERA. The Orioles have thrown Hanifee out on the mound for plenty of starts; the result being quality numbers and overcoming adversity this past season.
Hanifee’s fastball gets up to around 94 mph, while his 6’5” height puts solid sink on the ball. His slider is above average, while his changeup adds nice versatility to his arsenal of pitches. One of the biggest strengths for Hanifee is his control in the strike zone; the right-hander locates his slider very accurately.
MLB.com gives Hanifee the following rankings:
Hanifee has the height and combination of pitches to be a solid middle-rotation starter in the big leagues someday. His young age allows him to have tough years in Single-A and still not be rushed in his development.
The 2020 season will be a big opportunity for Hanifee to have a bounce-back year. He will likely remain in Frederick, but I would not be surprised if he made some appearances on the mound in Bowie towards the end of the season.
As the No. 10 pitcher in the Orioles’ farm system, watch for Hanifee to continue improving in 2020 and become a top prospect in the years to come.
What do you think about Hanifee? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!