Baltimore Orioles RHP Brenan Hanifee Garners More National Attention

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 10: Fans enter the stadium prior to the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles home opener at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 10, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 10: Fans enter the stadium prior to the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles home opener at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 10, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Baltimore Orioles farm system is trending up.

Despite what one particular national evaluator believes, the Baltimore Orioles do not have the worst-ranked farm system in Major League Baseball. It has its shortcomings and a few positions are void of future, standout major league talent, but there’s a lot to love about many of these prospects.

The latest national top prospect list to be released came via The Athletic and their new fantasy baseball department, including longtime prospect writer John Sickels. Sickels’ list includes ($) his top 100 prospects for 2019 (with a fantasy slant) and two additional prospects per team he considers his sleepers.

Sickels included three Baltimore Orioles prospects in his main 100, including outfielder Yusniel Diaz (47), LHP DL Hall (54), and third baseman Ryan Mountcastle (65). His two sleepers are shortstop Adam Hall and RHP Brenan Hanifee.

Earlier this winter, Fangraphs ranked Hanifee 10th on their list of top 32 Orioles prospects, noting his ability to pound the strike zone and heavy sink on his fastball. Both of these publications mark the highest rankings to date for the former Turner Ashby Knight.

After a winter of training here in Harrisonburg, VA, Hanifee will now likely prepare for a 2019 season with the Advanced-A Frederick Keys in the Carolina League. I previously wrote about a handful of prospects who were facing big tests this season and Hanifee was one of those, as he sets to make the jump from the lower minors to High-A at the age of 20 (turns 21 in late-May).

Posting a 54.5% groundball rate in his first full season and maintaining an impressive 4% walk rate in his stops at Aberdeen and Delmarva, there’s little doubt that Hanifee will continue to excel and work his way up through the system.

More from Birds Watcher

As he continues to fill out and develop physically, the velocity will rise and with a new emphasis on incorporating analytics, we could see a spike in his strikeout numbers. Hanifee can already work deep into games, going 7+ innings in seven of his 23 starts.

He surrendered two or fewer runs in six of those seven outings. One thing to note, his final seven starts were limited to five innings per outing in order to limit the number of innings worked by the 20-year-old in his first full season. A coach in the system also informed me that he was told to go mainly fastball over his final few starts, avoiding his secondaries for the time being (show more MiLB games so we can watch!).

It is easy to take stabs at the Orioles’ farm system and minor league development, but there is real talent here with a handful of pitchers who will call Camden Yards home in the near future. From higher floor guys like Keegan Akin and Zac Lowther, to young studs in DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez, and even sleepers like Cameron Bishop and Drew Rom, watching these minor league staffs is going to be a lot of fun in 2019.

dark. Next. Orioles Top 10 Prospects

Only 10 days away from the return of Baltimore Orioles baseball, ladies and gentlemen. Anyone getting excited yet?