By Contributing Writer: Nick Stevens
Just as we did after the conclusion of the 2016 season, the writers here at Baby Birdland, as well as our primary photo supplier Patrick Cavey, all submitted a Top 15 list and we averaged those lists together to get our all encompassing Baltimore Orioles Top 15 Prospects list. Kicking off our in-depth look at each of the Top 15 Orioles’ prospects, we begin with #15, RHP Brenan Hanifee.
Photo: Patrick Cavey
Hanifee is currently with the short-season Aberdeen Ironbirds after spending the first half of the 2017 summer at extended spring training in Sarasota. The 2016 4th round pick out of Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, VA has quickly exploded onto the MiLB scene after a tremendous start with the Ironbirds.
As of July 18th, Hanifee has started five games for Aberdeen, compiling a 4-0 record with a 1.61 earned run average. Four of those five starts have been quality starts, highly impressive for a young pitcher at the Low A level. Twice this season, Hanifee has gone six shutout innings, including his first career start back on June 22nd.
In 28 innings of work, Hanifee has given up just 25 hits, 5 earned runs, and 6 walks while striking out 21 batters and limiting opponents to a low .243 batting average.
I highly encourage all Orioles fans to watch a performance by Hanifee this season. Even just a casual fan can instantly see the overpowering mound presence of the 6’5” right hander. His fastball consistently clocks in at 91-93 mph with the ability to hit 95. The changeup is a work in progress, but he’s able to effectively upset hitters’ timing by using it to pitch backwards instead of relying mainly on his fastball.
It’s Hanifee’s slider, however, that will separate him from many of his peers. His high arm angle and plus movement will be a deadly combination once he is able to fully command the pitch.
Brenan has not found himself in many jams in his very young career, but when trouble does find Hanifee, his defense has been there to save the day, or at least a few runs. His ability to locate the fastball down in the zone on a consistent basis has also allowed Hanifee to keep the ball on the ground 55% of the time and strand 86% of runners that reach base.
Looking at the New York-Penn League leaderboard, Hanifee ranks tied for second in wins (4), fifth in ERA (1.61), sixth in innings pitched (28.0), and is one of only six pitchers without a loss on the season with at least five starts.
The season is still young for Brenan Hanifee and he is only 19 years old, one of the youngest players on the Ironbirds’ roster right now. While there is still a long way to go for Brenan, he is flashing all of the tools necessary to be a big contributor at the major league level and has rightfully earned the #15 slot on our Top 15 prospects list here at Baby Birdland. Of the five lists from Baby Birdland writers, Hanifee appeared on two of them and was ranked as high as 11th.
Head over to Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen quickly, because Hanifee will not be there long if he continues his torrid start. It is not often that Orioles’ fans get to be excited about a pitcher down on the farm, but get excited, Birdland, because Brenan Hanifee is a name you will be hearing about with for a long time.
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