It’s not often that at 21 years of age, a player is in Triple-A, ranked the second best prospect in an organization and ranked in the top-five prospects in all of baseball.
For Gunnar Henderson (Orioles No.2 / MLB No.5 prospect), these are all accomplishments achieved already. And to add to the list, he became the first Tides player to hit for the cycle in 22 years.
For fans of the Baltimore Orioles, Gunnar has become the next best thing behind Adley Rutschman. Where Grayson Rodriguez was supposed to be, Henderson has risen to take that mantle, partially due to a Rodriguez injury and the rest being pure talent.
Henderson was promoted to Norfolk after starting the season in Double-A Bowie, where he would dominate, forcing his way to a promotion.
Across 47 games for the Baysox, Henderson would hit .312, collecting 49 hits, including 11 doubles, three triples and eight home runs with 35 RBIs.
What stood out the most, however, was that Henderson had walked 41 times and only struck out 38. He was proving to be a difficult out, so the next challenge had to be given.
For Gunnar, it hasn’t slowed him down much, if at all. Across 25 games, he has remained a dangerous hitter and prime defender at the Triple-A level.
He is hitting .274, and his slugging percentage is still over .500. A stat that stands out, especially for a 21-year-old ball player who is still learning, is that he has an OBP of .386. That’s top of the order production in any level.
Henderson also has 11 extra base hits, including five homers, and has knocked in 15 runs. Though his strikeouts are above his walk totals, he still has 17 walks in 25 games.
Henderson is not just about hitting. The shortstop/third baseman has a fielding percentage above .960. He has made diving stops, unbelievable catches and has become a one-man highlight real.
All these stairs Henderson keeps climbing has led to his nomination to the 2022 SiriusXM All-Stars Futures Game Saturday, July 16, at 7 p.m. EST on Peacock and SiriusXM.
Henderson has accomplished more at 21 than most athletes have. He continues to be a head turner and will surely have numerous clubs offering the world for him in the future.
Thing is, Gunnar is part of this new Orioles era; there’s no chance he is traded. Becoming one of the new heros of the team is surely in the cards.
Being the next best thing; I’m sure he doesn’t mind standing in line behind Adley. For Gunnar, it’s just another stair to climb.
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