The Cincinnati Reds have selected Austin Hendrick with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft. The outfielder from West Allegheny High School in Imperial, Pennsylvania is a 6′ 1″ and 205 lb. left-handed hitter with some of the best raw power in the entire draft. He rated out as the 12th best prospect in the draft on my personal list, was rated 9th by Baseball America, 13th on the MLB Pipeline list, and 18th on the Fangraphs list.

Austin Hendrick Video

Austin Hendrick Scouting Report

When it comes to tools, Austin Hendrick has them all. All of his raw tool grades are at least average, while his raw power is among the best in the entire draft and at the top among all high schoolers – making him a 5-tool player down the road if he fully develops. The lefty has shown power against quality pitching on the national and international scene between showcase games as well as playing with Team USA in the summer. He shows easy power and he can use it to the big part of the ballpark.

But with all of that power there have been times where there’s been plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, too. And that has left some concerns about just how well his bat could ultimately play. There is some split on just how much he could actually hit for. Defensively he’ll fit in well in either corner outfield spot, but he’s got plenty of arm to handle right field if that’s where a team wants to put him. There’s even a small chance that he could handle center field as a pro, but it would require almost a perfect scenario of a team having a need there and him not losing a step at all in the future as his speed is only slightly above-average currently.

There’s a little concern about just how much average he will hit for as there are some scouts who have some swing-and-miss concerns with his game. It’s not a concern shared by all scouts, but it’s not a rogue though, either. He also has some of the best bat speed in the entire draft, allowing him to wait a little longer on pitches than most guys can. How much average he will hit for will depend on just how much power he hits for.

Scouting Director Brad Meador on Austin Hendrick

“We had him higher on our board than #12,” said Cincinnati Reds Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Meador.

“We’ve seen him a bunch the last two years, you saw what he looked liked – he’s a big strong, physical kid – so from a physical standpoint you feel like he’s ready to go compete right now. We think it’s an advanced bat, we’ve seen him be able to make swing changes and make adjustments,” said Meador.

“We didn’t see Austin as a guy who was a power guy who can’t hit. We wouldn’t have taken him there if that’s what we thought. Some of the concerns you’ve heard about, you’ve heard about the swing changes he was going through, not only was he trying to work on swing changes, he was doing it in the middle of the prospect league and Team USA – it was against the best arms in the country. To be able to do that, to even try to do that in the first place says something about him and then to be able to do it and still be one of the top, if not the top impact bat coming out of the summer – we felt pretty good about this guy having a chance to hit and really drive the baseball.”

When asked about the defensive side of Hendrick’s game, here’s what Meador had to say: “He’s solid (defensively). He’s going to be a right fielder. He’s a good runner, has a good arm, has good instincts. He’ll be a solid right fielder.”

Dick Williams and Nick Krall on Austin Hendrick

“We’ve had a chance to watch him in the past. We actually had some of our area scouts coach a team that he played on. Love the power, love the hit tool. Did see a swing change that we think he was working on while facing good competition and still succeeded and was able to incorporate that,” said Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams. “I think this year had he played more than the one game he did, I think he would have been right up there at the top of everyone’s board.”

“A guy that we really liked coming into the year. We saw him over the summer a lot. He eliminated the toe tap (in his swing) during the fall and it just led to more bat speed,” said Reds Vice President and General Manager Nick Krall. “He’s got plus bat speed, takes good at-bats, and he profiles as a prototypical right fielder with a chance to hit in the middle of your lineup.”

22 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    Watching the draft tracker, what did you think of Mitchell, Garrett had him a 6. MLB had Austin and 13. Just your thoughts.

    • Doug Gray

      I like Garrett Mitchell, had him rated 11th. But I’d be a liar if I didn’t say he weren’t a high risk/high reward type. He’s got legit 5-tools when you look at the raw column. But he’s also a guy with supposed plus raw power who didn’t hit any homers as a freshman or any homers in 17 games as a junior (he hit 6 as a sophomore). He’ll probably be a big leaguer, and the upside if big, but there’s also some feeling that he’s kind of a potential Drew Stubbs type of guy who is good enough to start, and will flash stuff, but never really takes that next big step.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    Love the bat speed. His arm seems strong enough to stick in RF.

    Now how do we get him reps THIS YEAR?

  3. MK

    Hope he is better than the last Reds Pennsylvania High school 1st pick outfielder Johnny Oliver. Should not be hard to be better just hope he is a lot better

  4. Tom

    Quite a few players available at 12, with many likely to make an impact. Should lead to some interesting discussion. It will be nice to say we got a starting right fielder with star potential in 3 years.

  5. Troy

    Seems similar to the two big high school bats last year: big power, less hit, non-premium positions, and older compared to their competition. Hopefully the hit tool translates to the professional level. Certainly nice upside but less margin for error with this profile

  6. LB

    Loved the Hendrick pick…he was my guy throughout this process.

    Lotta talent left on the board…my personal favorites for 48 are JT Ginn and CJ Van Eyk

  7. MK

    An area where baseball is behind the curve at the youth level, I believe there were only 2 black kids picked the first day. Hockey is the only sport where you will see that typically.

  8. Troy

    Doug, do Hendrick’s tools rate similarly to Bruce’s when he was drafted?

  9. haven

    I really am hoping for Casey Martin with the next pick, I think it’s going to be a pitcher however.

  10. Northern Ky Reds

    I hope he’s not another Jay Bruce. I personally like contact hitters. Not really looking for a guy with tremendous raw power but I’ll take less power with more contact. With that said, I hope he works out. I don’t like the fact he changed his swing. That means sub consciously he knew his swing had flaws. Will that effect him mentally? Will he try to over compensate? Cross your fingers. I hope we bag more hitters this year than pitchers.

    • Michael Smith

      @nky reds,

      I would kill for everyone one of our first round picks to disappoint like Jay Bruce.

    • Doug Gray

      Nearly every hitter that’s ever existed has changed their swing over time.

  11. MBS

    I like they went with a HS bat instead of college. Last years young guys, and hopefully this years young guys will be brought up through the New System the Reds have put in place. It’s will take a while to see if they made good changes or not, but it will feel great if in 4+ years we’re busting out one major league ready guy after another.

    PS Owners and Players, please start the season already

  12. Marty

    Luckily I don’t make my living by trying to predict what high school kids are going to end up doing as adults. If I did you could rest assured I would be starving to death on a regular basis.