Ryan Hagenow pitched an 11-strikeout complete game to lead Farragut High School in Tennessee to its 10th state championship as a junior in 2019. The right-handed pitcher hoped to guide his high school team to another state title this spring, but that wasn’t the case.
Farragut played just three games before the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancelation of its season. Hagenow made one start, pitching five innings, in his senior season.
It wasn’t how Hagenow wanted his final year to go, especially since he hoped to continue the program’s strong winning tradition. But he understood the circumstances and is appreciative to have played for Farragut, who has produced current major league players Nicky Delmonico of the Chicago White Sox and Nick Senzel of the Cincinnati Reds.
“It definitely was a tough time, but it’s a tough time for everyone,” Hagenow said. “There’s a lot of people that have been supportive.”
With his spring season cut short, Hagenow has turned his attention to preparing for the next step in his baseball career. The right-handed pitcher is a University of Kentucky commit and one of the top prospects in June’s MLB draft class.
Professional scouts consider Hagenow as a likely third to fifth-round pick. The lack of a spring season limited Hagenow’s chances to demonstrate his ability on the mound for scouts. The coronavirus pandemic also caused Major League Baseball to cut the draft from 40 rounds to just five.
Regardless of how the draft pans out, Hagenow is thankful to receive interest from pro teams and believes he has a strong opportunity at Kentucky if that’s the next step in his baseball career.
“It’s been really cool for me to go through,” Hagenow said. “It’s definitely not something I consider stressful, even though it’s a big decision. It’s kind of a blessing that I get to see both sides of the recruiting process. I’ve had a few Zoom calls and those have gone really well. It’s just a matter of what happens next. Whatever happens, is supposed to happen, and I’m ready for either way.”
Hagenow is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound right-hander who throws a four-seam fastball, slider and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot out of an up-tempo delivery. His low-90s fastball is his top offering and has natural run and sink. He locates the pitch well in all quadrants of the strike zone.
He also has feel for his off-speed pitches, which are both solid and effective offerings. He uses his 77-83 mph slider as his outpitch. He just started throwing a slider his junior season after using a 12-6 curveball in previous years. Due to his arm slot, Hagenow wasn’t having success with a curveball, which caused him to alter his grip.
He made strides with his changeup last summer, as he showed more consistency with the pitch. His changeup is one of the better changeups in this year’s prep class.
Hagenow has used the downtime this spring to add strength to his frame and refine his pitches and delivery. He has made strides in those categories but wants to continue to improve in preparation for pro ball this summer or collegiate baseball in the fall, he said.
“I want to be more consistent with my arm slot,” Hagenow said. “I grew up an infielder so I kind of tend to drop down every once and a while and go lower than I should. Just being able to repeat that part of it is something that I want to focus on and something that will come with time.”
Read an in-depth story on Ryan Hagenow’s skills and development into one of the top players in the country here.
Read more stories on top 2020 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.