Brett Hanewich Improves His Athleticism
Brett Hanewich has what is virtually impossible to teach, the ability to throw a baseball 100 mph, but that is not the only reason the 24-year-old righthander made a significant leap on the organizational depth chart in 2018.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Hanewich spent much of his second pro season cleaning up his mechanics and delivery enough to become a highly competitive pitcher, which was evident when he struck out the side with a fastball that touched 102 mph in the Arizona Fall League's annual Fall Stars Game.
"He still has a ways to go,” minor league pitching coordinator Matt Wise said, "but if he continues to throw enough strikes, the sky is the limit for him, because his stuff is unbelievable.”
Hanewich was a senior sign out of Stanford in 2017, but control issues throughout his college career—he hit 46 batters in four seasons—and nagging injuries over his last two seasons hurt his prospect stock. A ninth-round pick, Hanewich signed for just $10,000, far below his $143,900 slot.
Before the 2018 season, the Angels devised a plan to improve Hanewich's timing and athleticism.
"He’s not an overly large guy, but his arms are really long, and that affected the timing of those long levers,” Wise said. "We gave him some exercises that would help put his body in certain positions that we feel are best for his delivery.”
Hanewich began 2018 at low Class A Burlington and went 0-2, 3.76 in 16 games, striking out 23 and walking 15 in 26.1 innings. After a promotion to high Class A Inland Empire, Hanewich went 3-0, 1.90 in 26 games, striking out 51 and walking 31 in 42.2 innings.
Hanewich's fastball sits in the high 90s, and he made some strides last season with a slider that can look like a split-changeup at times. A cross-body delivery and high three-quarters arm slot can also work in his favor.
"He’s a pretty uncomfortable at-bat for a righthanded hitter because he steps in that direction,” Wise said. "I’ve sat behind home plate when righthanders are up, and you can tell they’re not very comfortable.”