Up next on The Baltimore Battery Prospect Profiles Countdown is shortstop Gunnar Hendarson!
Henderson, a left-handed hitting shortstop, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of John T. Morgan Academy High School in Selma, Alabama, in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2019 draft.
The team was even luckier to lure Henderson away from a commitment to Auburn with an above-slot signing bonus. When drafted by the Orioles in June, the 6’3 Henderson had not yet turned 18 years old.
The Orioles were fortunate to find Henderson sitting there for them with pick No. 42, as most scouts had a first round grade on Alabama’s No. 1 ranked player. Perfectgame.org ranked Henderson as the 16th overall high school player in the country.
Henderson began garnering attention during his junior year on the high school scouting circuit, while hitting the cover off the ball.
During his senior year, the High School All-American’s stats were downright gaudy. The Alabama State Player of the Year showed a great mix of power and speed, with eleven home runs and 28 stolen bases in 131 plate appearances.
Not only did Henderson reach base 64% of the time during 2019, 37 of his 57 hits went for extra bases. Henderson also scored 69 runs and drove in 75. These numbers were accomplished while striking out only nine times. Perfectgame.org said it best, Henderson “can flat out hit! Big potential!”
If Henderson’s baseball prowess doesn’t impress you, we can throw in the fact that Henderson was no slouch on the hardwood, either.
In 2019, the high school senior was named AISA’s Boy’s Basketball Player of the Year, was a selection to The Selma Times-Journal’s All-Dallas County Basketball Team, and was named MVP of the AISA All-Star Game.
Henderson accomplished all of this by scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, while playing in only the first half of most games.
Still not impressed? A well-rounded individual, Henderson can throw in a 4.05 GPA to go with being a student government officer, a youth basketball coach, and a food bank and homeless shelter volunteer.
Henderson is tall with an athletic build, coming in at 6’3 and 195 lbs. at only 18 years old. Henderson hits the ball hard and can drive to to all fields.
While his hitting ability is what immediately catches the eye, the youngster’s power is continually progressing as he adds muscle to his frame. He has also constantly improved his speed over time.
Henderson’s defensive future is somewhat of a question mark, with some scouts feeling that he may ultimately be a third baseman because of some added bulk, while others believe that his athleticism is underrated and that he may ultimately find a home at shortstop.
A right-handed thrower, Henderson can pitch as well. Using a 3/4 arm-slot, Henderson can throw strikes with a fastball that can hit 90 and a soft, effective slider.
After being drafted in June, Henderson spent 2019 in the Gulf Coast League, appearing in 29 games. In 109 at-bats, Henderson produced a .331 OBP with one home run and two stolen bases, while striking out 28 times.
2020 should see Henderson move up to Delmarva and possibly beyond. Henderson is still a long way from Camden Yards, but his progression will be fun to watch over the next several seasons.
What are your thoughts on Gunnar Henderson? What do you think 2020 holds for him? Let us know in the comments section, and make sure you follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!