LA Angels Prospect Profile: RHP Brett Hanewich

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the National League during the 89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the National League during the 89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Halo Hangout stopped by home of the LA Angels Class A team the Inland Empire 66ers, to meet with the up & coming future stars, Brett Hanewich, has proved himself a monster talent on the mound with his 2.56 ERA on the 2018 season.

LA Angels prospect, relief pitcher Brett Hanewich, is beginning to find a serious groove in only his 2nd Minor League season, this season being his first full season given his 2017 draft status. He’s split time with the Class A Burlington Bees and the Class A Advanced Inland Empire 66ers this season, and after his promotion to High A he’s began to settle into form big time.

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Hanewich started the season with the Bees, pitching to a solid 3.76 ERA while striking out 27 in 26 IP. After being called up to the 66ers Hanewich reduced hitters into mere shadows of themselves. In his 30 games with the 66ers he’s kept hitters to a .226 batting average while also holding them to a miniscule .288 slugging percentage. To say he neutralizes hitters power potential would be an understatement, on the entire seasons he’s allowed exactly zero home runs. In fact, he’s allowed only 10 extra base hits in his 52 innings pitched this season. There’s power pitching, and then there’s what Brett Hanewich brings to the mound.

Brett Hanewich #33

H.H: Since joining the 66ers you’ve maintained a 1.11 ERA [as of July 19th] . What’s evolved in your game from Burlington to bring this success?

Hanewich: My mentality really, the way I attack hitters has been a little different. I’ve been able to learn, not just earlier this year in Burlington, but last year in Orem when I had a little rough year. The way I attack hitters; trying to get ahead of pitches, sometimes I might lose guys from trying to be too fine with some pitches. For the most part I do my best to get ahead from the very start because I know I have a lot more success when I’m ahead rather than pitching from behind. It’s a lot easier to do.

H.H: Throughout the season you’ve allowed zero home runs. What’s in your mentality that allows you to neutralize hitters at this rate?

Hanewich: I just stay within myself. I know what kind of a pitcher I am, more of a power pitcher, knowing that I get a lot more groundballs rather than flyballs. I trust my stuff and don’t get out of my comfort zone, I try not to think “I can’t give up a home run here”. I stay within myself.

It’s gonna happen, at some point I’m gonna give up a home run, two home runs. Just gotta stay within myself, if it happens it happens, but I do my best to do my job, which is to get hitters out.

H.H: You’ve allowed only 3 runs in 2 games [at time of writing] during your time the 66ers. How do you maintain that consistency?

Hanewich: Just going back to it being the mentality of getting ahead. I think that when I do get ahead it’s a lot easier to limit runs and limit base runners. The last thing I think about is giving up runs, every single time I try to throw zeros. That’s my main goal, putting up zeroes and giving the team our best chance to win. While it is nice to not give up any runs it’s the last thing I’m thinking about when I’m up there. It does happen; I will give up hits, I will give up home runs, I will walk batters. I just try to handle my control and make quality pitches in quality counts.

2018 ERA: 2.60

If quality is what Brett Hanewich is looking for on the mound, he’s found it in spades. So far with the 66ers he’s pitched to a 1.37 ERA in 26.1 innings. Since joining the 66ers he’s held hitters to a sub-.200 batting average while keeping their power production to a stifled .209 slugging. Again, he hasn’t given up any homeruns either. Brett Hanewich pitches with power in every sense of the word, and then some. He doesn’t just look to miss bats, he looks to break them. Hanewich knows that success in the game lies in his ability to beat hitters time and time again. There’s no point in missing the bat if you can turn the opposing hitters bat into a wet newspaper.

It is a wonder to see the evolution of Hanewich in only about two years time. The pitcher I’m describing right now sounds like someone with major talent and a powerful head on their shoulders, but you’d be surprised to see that Hanewich faced some intense learning curves upon entering professional baseball. In his time with the Orem Owlz, the Angels rookie league squad, Hanewich pitched to a 7.18 ERA across 26.1 innings.

One of the beauties of baseball is watching the talent develop in all the promising athletes; everyone in the Minors is a promising athlete, that’s why they’ve been drafted. Hanewich may have started with some struggles, yet we’ve been lucky enough to see the talent and mentality of Hanewich mature exponentially since he first began his MiLB career.

And to think that he’s only been developing for a season and a half. Just imagine what he’ll look like in another season and a half.

2018 Home Runs Allowed: Zero

H.H: Hitters are batting under .200 against you with RISP. Does your mentality change with runners on?

Hanewich: Kinda, yeah. I’d say moreso because you never want guys to score. It’s your job to put up zeroes on the board, I really try to take pride in not letting runners score. Especially when they’re on base in scoring position.

Then again the mentality really doesn’t change too much. It’s still the same attacking mentality. Still trying to get ahead hitters. You might have to be a little more fine if you’re in a 0-2, 1-2 count where you’re trying to strike a guy out so the guys don’t move over or if you have less than one out and they can hit a sac fly with a guy on third base. For the most part trying to get maybe a strikeout or two, even then go for weak contact. It’s something we strive for here in the Angels organization, which is weak contact. Obviously limiting walks and not letting another guy on. Other than that it’s mostly the same, attacking hitters and just getting ahead while I can.

H.H: With the season more than mid-way through, what aspects of your game have you zoned in on refining?

Hanewich: Throughout the whole season my main focus has been on finding a more consistent off-speed pitch whether it’s my slider or my change-up. Everything I throw is basically built off my fastball, and I know the velocity there is always gonna be there. [laughs] That is until you get a little older and then it starts to lose velocity for the most part. I’m young, I’m 23 years old so that’s gonna be there for a little bit longer. I’m making a consistent effort in trying to make that consistent secondary pitch so I don’t have everything feed off my fastball. Then when I have that it obviously helps improve my fastball even more.

Every single year you try to do better and better and try to control the consistency of the command. As a pitcher you’re trying to be better and better in smaller spots and be able to accomplish your goals in terms of not walking guys or striking more guys out. Mainly just making better pitches, being a little smarter when it comes to what pitches in what counts. Trying to refine every little thing that comes with being a pitcher as a whole.

H.H: Looking back at your time in Orem last year, what differences do you see in yourself?

Hanewich: Just bearing down. In Orem I’d go out for an inning, do really well, second inning I’d let up a little bit and get more lackadaisical. Whereas here I know that I can’t let up on any pitch, any single out, no manner how many innings I have to throw.  This is my ultimate goal, to be in the Major Leagues at some point in my career. In order to do so I have to bear down and really be mentally tough. Can’t give in to hitters, give in to different counts. That’s the biggest jump from last year to this year, I haven’t really mentally given up on pitches or given up when I’m ahead or behind on a batter. If I have a good first inning I want to have an even better second inning. If I do that it’s definitely a better feeling coming into the dugout and knowing that I’ve built off every outing or built off a struggle I’ve had in the first inning. I come back, make adjustments, and do better in the second inning.

Opposing Hitter OPS (2018): .661

Brett Hanewich is a special athlete indeed, not just because of his ability to grow like a weed and his subsequent future potential, but because of the mentality he carries as well as his style of baseball. The Angels are an organization that lives on the mantra of “weak contact”. Making hitters swing their way into danger is how they play the game, which funny enough is how Brett Hanewich approaches pitching. It’s like these two were made for each other, and with the way Hanewich has been performing with the 66ers you can plainly see the benefits of having a player made for an organization, and vice-versa.

Extra Base Hits Allowed: 10 (222 Batters Faced)

H.H: You’ve come all the way from the East Coast to play pro-ball, how are you enjoying your time playing on the West Coast so far?

Hanewich: Yeah, I actually went to college at Stanford, which is up north about six more hours. I’m used to playing ball here, I’m used to the weather. A little more dry air, in Florida there’s a lot more humidity. The heat is pretty much the same but it’s more dry, that’s a little bit nice. I’m used to it and I love it out here. I grew up and I was bred to play baseball, so I’m prepared for it and I definitely love doing it.

H.H: With the offseason on the horizon, what plans do you have regarding your training regimen?

 Hanewich: Probably something similar to last year. Last year I worked with a pitching coach from back home almost immediately after the season was over. Not initially throwing, but mental conditioning work. Working out, getting into shape, getting into a little better shape to start the next year. I will take a little bit of time off to give my arm a rest but there’s really no offseason. Like I said, the ultimate goal [reaching the MLB], I’m not there yet. I can’t stop until it’s there. Mentally I’ll give myself a little break, but I’ll prepare myself in very similar ways.

Take a little time off and get right back into it with workouts, conditioning, eating a little better and then getting back on the mound whenever I can, whenever it seems fit for the time. All leading up to spring training next year

Brett Hanewich #33

There seems to be a multitude of top-level relief pitchers rising through the ranks in the Angels organization. The Angels big league club often finds themselves in need of relief pitching assistance, which makes sense as to why their farm levels are filled with such talented young relief potential. With the level and speed at which Hanewich is developing, the Angels might see themselves welcoming him into their company soon.

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He’s only 23 years old and is already playing himself into a guaranteed call up to Double A, if not by the end of this season than by the beginning of next year. This is exactly the kind of pitcher the Angels needed, not only one who naturally adheres to the philosophy they’ve set forth, but one who maintains and grows a mental strength on his own accord. Brett Hanewich, simply put, is the kind of power-pitcher every organization wishes they had on their club.

Next: Connor Justus is finishing strong after rough start

We’re lucky to have him within the Angels organization, and in the future we’ll be even luckier to have him pitching on the big league squad.