Bannon signed for $122,500 as an eighth-round pick in 2017, the year he earned Big East Conference Player of the Year honors after a monster junior season at Xavier. He immediately hit enough for the Dodgers to place him at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga for his first full pro season, when Bannon broke out to the tune of 20 homers in 89 games. He was leading the California League in homers and slugging when the Orioles acquired him in a five-prospect package for Manny Machado in July 2017. They immediately promoted Bannon to Double-A, where he slumped at first. Bannon then performed well enough in 2019 to earn a midseason promotion to Triple-A Norfolk and a ticket to the Arizona Fall League.
A compact but strong hitter, Bannon controls the strike zone very well, as evidenced by big on-base numbers throughout his professional career. But there is also an all-or-nothing element to his offensive game, with some significant swing-and-miss involved. He has a unique swing for his 5-foot-7, 180-pound frame, using a big leg kick and uppercut path to generate above-average raw power. It has translated into game action less, though, as Bannon has been exposed to better pitching.
Defensively, Bannon possesses good first step quickness and a strong but sometimes erratic arm. He played almost exclusively third base upon arriving in the Orioles’ system, then predominately second base in 2019. He’ll probably always be a bat-first player, but is going to get some exposure to shortstop this year in an effort to improve his versatility even further. All told, he profiles a valuable utility player at the Major League level, who should be able to provide some thump off the bench against left-handed pitching.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 40
Bannon improved in all three years at Xavier. After going homerless with a sub-.200 average as a true freshman, he hit .273 and connected on eight home runs the next year, then garnered Big East Conference Player of the Year honors as a junior after hitting .339 and topping the circuit with 15 homers, 140 total bases and a .633 slugging percentage. Bannon continued to rake after signing for $122,500 as an eighth-round pick, and the Dodgers deemed him advanced enough to handle a jump to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga to begin his first full pro season. He broke out in the California League and was leading the circuit in home runs (20) and slugging (.559) when the Dodgers packaged him with four other prospects in an All-Star break trade to land Manny Machado. Upon joining the Orioles system, Bannon was promoted to Double-A and shifted from the hot corner to second base.
Bannon's compact frame is loaded with strength, and he knows how to get the most out of it at the plate. A 5-foot-10 right-handed hitter, he sets up with an open stance, then utilizes a big leg kick and upper-cut bat path to generate above-average raw power. It's a unique swing with a lot of moving parts, but Bannon controls it well, consistently getting the bat head through the zone. Of course, such a swing also comes with some swing-and-miss concerns and pull-side tendencies, both of which were exposed a bit during Bannon's time in Double-A.
Bannon saw time at both second and third base in the Dodgers system, then played second almost exclusively after the trade. His average speed, actions and arm strength all profile better at the keystone, though it's a bat-first profile regardless of where he lands on the defense spectrum. If it all clicks, Bannon could develop into a valuable utility player at the highest level.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
Bannon hit a combined .238 with eight homers in his first two seasons at Xavier before exploding as a junior in 2017, winning Big East Conference player of the year honors after hitting .339 and topping the circuit with 15 homers, 140 total bases and a .633 slugging percentage. He continued to rake after signing for $122,500 as an eighth-round pick, logging a .336/.425/.591 slash line in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. Deemed advanced enough to handle a jump to Class A Advanced to begin his first full pro season, Bannon rewarded the organization by earning midseason All-Star honors in the California League, and he was leading the circuit in home runs (20) and slugging (.559) when the Dodgers packaged him with four other prospects in an All-Star break trade to land Manny Machado.
Bannon may be undersized, but he packs plenty of strength into his compact frame. An open stance, big leg kick and upper-cut bat path help him to generate above-average raw power from the right side of the plate that he's had no problem getting to early in his career. It also leads to some swing-and-miss tendencies as well as a pull-heavy approach, although Bannon makes it work with his knack for finding the barrel and a strong overall feel for controlling the zone. He's an average runner with nice instincts on the bases.
Despite standing out more with the bat to begin his career, Bannon may be more impressive with the glove. He has range to both sides and comes in on balls well, and he possesses soft hands as well as solid arm strength. He could be a plus defender with more consistency, and he's quick enough that Los Angeles gave him some time at second base this year in addition to his usual work at the hot corner. If it all clicks, Bannon could develop into a valuable utility player at the highest level.