(Photo Credit: Joey Gardner)

Brenan Hanifee has been off to a great start in 2018 for the Delmarva Shorebirds (Low-A Affiliate). Entering the season at just 19 years old, he has already worked his way up the Orioles prospect list ranking as high as eighth on prospects lists. The Orioles selected Hanifee in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, with the 121st overall selection.

Before the draft in 2016, Hanifee had already committed to East Carolina University. When the Orioles selected him there was some doubt he would sign with the club and instead opt to go to college instead. The club erased any sign of doubt he would sign by offering him a contract that was $500,000 above his slot value to forgo his college commitment. Having grown up as a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, it was a dream come true for Hanifee.

Hanifee’s fastball usually sits in the lower 90s but has been able to reach back for a little more when necessary, having touched 94-95 mph. He is still young and has plenty of room to add more strength to his 6’5” frame, so if things go right, he could see an uptick in his velocity. His fastball also works as a sinker, which is evident when you look as his GB%. He pairs it with a slider that has shown flashes of being above average and sits in the low 80’s. Hanifee also has a changeup, but it’s a work in progress and most likely projects to remain below average unless he discovers a great feel for it.

 2017

Last year was Hanifee’s introduction to professional baseball and he produced quite well. He started 12 games for the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Orioles short-season affiliate) producing seven wins and a 2.75 ERA over 68.2 innings. Hanifee struck out 44 while only walking 12 batters. Hitters batted to a .249 average against him with a BABIP of .289.  His GB% was 57.9% and only 3.9% of fly balls hit against him went for home runs. Hanifee’s FIP was 3.23 showing his results were a little better than he really might’ve pitch.

2018

Immaculate inning:

Brenan Hanifee has started his 2018 season at Delmarva (Baltimore Orioles’ Low-A affiliate) and like most of the staff, Haniffee has gotten good results so far, which includes an immaculate inning. In his 7 games this season Hanifee has pitched to a 2.22 ERA in 44.2 innings. He has 29 strikeouts (slightly above his 2017 percentage so far) but has already walked 10 batters. After only allowing two home runs in 2017, he has allowed five so far in 2018.16.7% of fly balls against him are leaving the yard. Hanifee’s GB% is currently 54.5%. His FIP currently is 4.48, further indicating that he has not quite effective as the numbers would indicate.

While most fans will look at Hanifee’s ERA and wonder why isn’t he already in Frederick, it’s important to look at the whole picture, especially when dealing with a young arm. Brenan Hanifee has time on his side currently, and the Orioles and their fans should be in no need to rush him through any stage. They ought to let Hanifee develop a better feel for his arsenal of pitches at a lower level and build that confidence even more. As of now, Hanifee projects as a back end of the rotation guy. As he continues to grow and develop, both physically and with his pitches, Hanifee could evolve past that. It would probably be best for Brenan Hanifee to stay at this current level all year, until everything shows that he’s ready for the next level. The Delmarva Shorebirds pitching staff continues to provide hope for the future of the Orioles rotation.   

Game Action:

Like hearing about prospects?

Make sure to check out Six Man Rotation’s 80 Grade Podcast with Connor and Rhys to hear more about Brenan Hanifee and other prospects around the league (also available on iTunes and the Google Play store):

https://soundcloud.com/sixmanrotation/80-grade-baltimore-orioles

https://soundcloud.com/sixmanrotation/sets/80-grade

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