The MLB Top-100 Prospect List by MLB Pipeline is ever changing. To start the 2021 season, the Orioles had four players on that list; No. 2 Adley Rutschman, No. 21 Grayson Rodriguez, No. 56 Heston Kjerstad, and No. 57 DL Hall. Now after two weeks into the minor league season, the list now features another future Oriole, and that’s shortstop Gunnar Henderson.
This week, White Sox outfield prospect, Andrew Vaughn, graduated his prospect status. As a baseball fan, that is awesome! Andrew Vaughn will be, in my opinion, a great player for the White Sox for a while. As an Oriole fan, this is even better news. This graduation by Vaughn has opened up a spot at No. 99 that is now held by Gunnar Henderson.
If you have been following Henderson from his high school years to being the starting shortstop for the Delmarva Shorebirds, you wouldn’t really be surprised. The six-foot-two monster of a kid is made for baseball. So far in his career, we’ve seen that come to fruition.
We all know the power and finesse with the glove that Henderson was said to have entering the draft. Now, we have a small sample size that maybe even goes beyond those expectations.
Let’s look at his numbers so far. From the plate, Henderson is hitting like he already belongs in High-A ball at just 19 years old. He is hitting .341 with a 1.063 OPS. Along with that, he has drove in 16 runs and even stole three bases in 10 games this year. In simple terms, this kid is producing at a level that will get you noticed; and noticed he got.
This past week, Henderson was named the Low-A East League Player of the Week. Through this last week, he went 10-for-23 in five games, with four doubles, one home run, and 13 RBI, while scoring seven runs himself. I’d say, if you can hit well over .400 and account for 20 runs in five games, you are doing something right!
Including his 29 games in rookie ball in 2019, Henderson has showed a lot of promise in his short professional career. With a career average of .282 and a .801 OPS, fans should be excited, as this is just the beginning. What we want to see as fans is progress and improvement from the prospects.
Henderson has 27 career RBI, four home runs, and five stolen bases, and 16 of those RBI have come just in the last 10 games, as well as three of his four long balls and three of his five total stolen bases. If that isn’t showing improvement, and very quickly, I might add, I’m not sure what is.
This is one prospect where the lack of a 2020 minor league season seriously deterred him. He could be much, much higher on that Top-100 had he been able to play last year.
Through this minor league season, please do not miss out on watching this kid! Gunnar Henderson is going to continue to impress and dominate that Low-A level and is someone we may even expect to see jump to Double-A Bowie at some point this season.
The future is bright, and Gunnar Henderson only adds to the hype!