2018 Level: Low-A
Current/Future/Ceiling Grades: 25/50/55
What we know:
Hanifee has a sturdy athletic frame with some room for added muscle. Just 19 years old when the season began, he threw 132 innings of 2.86 ERA ball despite being limited to 5 innings each of his last 7 starts. He has a simple delivery with plus extension that he repeats well. His arsenal is highlighted by a sinking fastball with strong armside run. It usually sits 91-93mph but will touch 95. It flattens out up in the zone, but can miss bats, especially when located armside. He absolutely pounds the zone and while it’s still a work in progress, he projects to above average command. He has a nice slider (83-85) with tight two-plane break at times, it’ll flash plus, but it’s inconsistent and sometimes it just spins. He doesn’t command the slider very well yet, he hasn’t figured out how to locate it, so it breaks out of the zone for whiffs. He also started throwing a changeup (84-89), but it’s a well below average pitch at this point. It’s firm and inconsistent.
What we don’t know:
Will he add more velocity as he fills out his frame? How will the changeup come along? Will the command of the slider improve?
What we think:
Hanifee was a multi-sport athlete and is young both in age and pitching reps. His secondaries didn’t take the huge leap forward I’d hoped for the year, but they did improve. His velocity also ticked up. It’s easy to see Hanifee as a backend starter that lives off a heavy sinker. There is plenty of upside if the changeup and velocity improve. If the change doesn’t improve, he still looks like potential late inning arm with a heavy fastball/slider and a starter’s command.
Written by Luke Siler