Being argued as the top prospect in baseball is not something many 21-year-old ball players can stake a claim to. Then again, Gunnar Henderson is not your normal 21-year-old ball player.
Henderson, who was drafted in the second round in 2019 (yes, the same draft that brought us Adley Rutschman and Kyle Stowers), is the Orioles’ top ranked prospect. And though ranked as MLB’s No. 2 prospect, many pundits believe he is the top prospect in all of baseball.
The bell is ringing so loud that with 34 games left in the season, the Orioles have no choice but to bring Henderson along for a postseason push.
The Orioles’ schedule for the remaining stretch is the third toughest in baseball, and having a player as dynamic as Henderson only adds to the drive and potential that this team has built all season long.
Henderson, who recently has been playing second and first base, has expanded his potential to man any infield position and immediately offers an upgrade at just about any of them.
Though Jorge Mateo, who is having a strong season, and Ramón Urías have held their own, adding a five-tool prospect like Henderson is an instant upgrade at either position.
Take Henderson’s stats since being promoted to Triple-A: 64 games played, .282 BA, 11 home runs, 13 doubles, four triples, 41 RBIs, 58 runs, 38 walks and eight stolen bases.
Mind you, he turned 21 at the end of June and has hit a career-high 19 home runs across two levels, which is one of the top stats for the team.
There is a swagger to Henderson that exudes confidence, but not to the point he’s arrogant. His moxy would slide right into the Orioles’ clubhouse, one that just added top outfield prospect and long-tenured teammate of Henderson, Kyle Stowers, a few weeks prior.
Would Orioles Executive Vice President and GM Mike Elias make such a move?
The time is right, and the future is here. Tomorrow has started, and Gunnar Henderson has made it to the big time.
Henderson will wear No. 2 and his first appearance will be his major league debut. The Orioles optioned infielder Tyler Nevin to Triple-A Norfolk and designated right-hander Denyi Reyes for assignment.
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