Moving forward with our 2017 MLB Draft profile series, we turn to the high school ranks with a look at Hagen Danner, a right-handed pitcher and catcher from California and an intriguing two-way prospect.
A high schooler from Huntington Beach, California, Danner drew notice way back in 2011 playing in the Little League World Series. He’s also been very active on the showcase circuit and scouts are quite familiar with him, although despite all the exposure he’s still something of an enigma. He is a prospect as both a pitcher and a catcher and it remains to be seen where he’ll fit long-term.
Danner is 6-1, 195, a right-handed hitter and thrower born September 30th, 1998. He is committed to UCLA but should be signable if drafted in the first two rounds.
As you’d imagine from a pitcher/catcher, Danner’s best physical tool is his throwing arm. On the mound he shows a 90-94 MPH fastball, occasionally a bit higher. He also has an above-average curveball and has refined his change-up, giving him three pitches which project as at least solid major league average. His control is also very good for his age and his mechanics are consistent.
As a position player, Danner’s arm works well behind the plate where he also shows impressive mobility and athleticism. He also has the leadership skills necessary for backstops. His best hitting tool is power.
Danner is physically mature and isn’t likely to pick up a lot more velocity on his fastball, and while what he has now is enough if his command holds up, the lack of future projection concerns some observers. As with any high school pitcher there’s significant injury and durability risk. High school catchers are also a risky demographic historically, so as either a hitter or pitcher there’s a notable uncertainty premium. Not everyone is sold on his bat, Baseball America noting for example that he “lacks elite bat speed.”
Some teams prefer Danner as a relatively refined high school pitcher, while others like him as a polished defensive catcher with a chance to hit. Either way, he should come off the board in the supplemental round or the second round. My personal preference is on the mound but either way he is unlikely to get to UCLA.
Danner as a pitcher, via Prospect Pipeline
Danner catching, via 2080 Baseball
Danner as a hitter