Baltimore’s 4th rounder in 2016, Hanifee has been a fixture in Delmarva’s rotation this season. He has averaged nearly six innings a start and showed the ingredients of a long-term starting pitcher. He fills the zone very well, though that strikethrowing ability also impacts his strikeout numbers. Hanifee has posted a stingy 1.55 BB/9 on the season despite only striking out 15% of batters faced.
A tall, lanky 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds, Hanifee’s lean and athletic features ooze projectability. His delivery is quiet and has the look of a strikethrower, using a simple one-step pump into a semi-windup. The fastball sits 89-to-92 mph with above-average armside run that sinks down in the zone. Hanifee’s 84-to-87 mph slider is a hard cut-type pitch with sharp bite but limited depth. It does the job, but doesn’t miss many bats. His fastball and slider are the two primary pitches, but he will mix a mid-80s changeup with enough sell and fade action to project an average pitch with more development.
In a year where over a dozen new prospects have infused new life into Baltimore’s farm system, Hanifee has quietly become one of the system’s better pitching prospects. There is still room to add velocity to the fastball, and I expect Hanifee to induce more swing-and-miss as he learns to pitch outside the zone. Hanifee’s big frame and control check the boxes of a future workhorse who can eat innings at the back of a big league rotation.