Austin Hendrick was drafted in 2020 but there wasn’t a season to be played. He would spend all of the 2021 season in Single-A Daytona, but would miss the final month of the season with a wrist injury. He would struggle to make contact, striking out 100 times in 63 games, but showed solid power and drew 51 walks.

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After his struggles in 2021 the Cincinnati Reds sent Austin Hendrick back to Daytona to begin the season. The first three games of the seasons didn’t go much different than what took place in 2021 as Hendrick struck out eight times, walked three times, and didn’t pick up a hit. The hits did start falling in over the next three weeks, though. From April 13th through May 5th he hit .309/.377/.618, hitting six home runs along the way.

The next two weeks were a big struggle, though. Hendrick went into a slump, striking out 25 times in just 54 plate appearances. That led to him hitting just .104/.204/.188 in a 14-game stretch. Despite those massive struggles the Reds promoted Hendrick to High-A Dayton on May 24th. The contact was still an issue, but over the first two weeks with the Dragons, Hendrick hit .256 with five extra-base hits in 11 games played.

Things went south for the next seven weeks. In 35 games from June 9th through August 2nd, Hendrick had just 23 hits while racking up 59 strikeouts in 137 plate appearances. That came along with a .186 average and a .248 on-base percentage, but also saw the outfielder pick up 13 extra-base hits.

On August 3rd Austin Hendrick went 2-3 with two walks and no strikeouts. It was only the second time in a month that he hadn’t struck out in a game. And that kicked off a strong finish over the final five weeks of the season. In the last 27 games of the season he hit .255/.377/.543 with 17 walks, 30 strikeouts, and 13 extra-base hits. He also stole 10 bases.

For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Austin Hendrick Scouting Report

Position: Outfield | B/T: L/L

Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 204 lbs | Acquired: 1st Round, 2020 Draft

Born: June 15, 2001

Hitting | He has a below-average hit tool.

Power | He has plus power.

Speed | He has average speed.

Defense | He’s an average fielder.

Arm | He has an above-average arm.

Austin Hendrick has plenty of tools to work with. He can run, he can throw, he can field, and he can hit the ball over the wall with ease…. but he’s had a big issue in making contact throughout his career. He’s struck out 265 times in 710 plate appearances in his career – a 37.3% strikeout rate. That rate has been constant in his career until the final five weeks of 2022 when he struck out just 26.3% of the time with Dayton.

Finding a way to make more contact is going to be a make-or-break kind of situation. A 37% strikeout rate is simply too high to work. But if the strides he made towards the end of the 2022 season were real and not simply a blip on the radar, then things could work out if he continues to walk and hit the ball over the wall.

Defensively he’s best in right field where he’s got solid range and a strong arm. He’s had experience in center, but he doesn’t have the speed to play there at the big league level on an every day basis.


Austin Hendrick Spray Chart

Interesting Stat on Austin Hendrick

In the 3rd inning of games he hit .359/.390/.744 with seven extra-base hits in 39 at-bats.

19 Responses

  1. Tom

    He should have a lot of confidence with the way he finished the year. Looking forward this storyline this year.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    While he’s fallen off the map, I don’t think all hope is lost. Even if his ceiling is a low average, 3 outcome hitter who can bang out 30 home runs, that’s still a pretty valuable guy in today’s game. I’d be very patient with him.

    His OPS splits (.773 vs. rhp, .652 vs. lhp) suggest a platoon guy. His ops vs. younger pitchers (.643) compared to older (.745) might suggest his plate discipline could improve as he moves up because guys are around the plate more.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      When I see guys who struggle against younger pitchers but have more success against older pitchers in the lower levels my first thought is that they struggle against guys with good stuff, and maybe even struggle to catch up to velocity.

  3. LDS

    He’s still young but he’s feeling more and more like a busted pick. At this point, he’s making EDLC look like a contact hitter. Lower ceiling at this point that Aquino and we know how that worked out.

  4. Stock

    Off the subject but I was looking at who was available as a FA still and noticed Edwin Rios. The Dodgers never gave him much of an opportunity because he strikes out a lot (32% in his major league career). But he also produces (.791 OPS). He played so sparingly in the majors it was hard to find a grove. 0.832 was his lowest single season OPS in the minors since 2017.

  5. Matt

    An outfield in Chattanooga to start the year probably of Hendrick, Cerda, and Hinds could provide a lot of pop in the outfield. Certainly an OF with a lot of potential, if they can reach it. Thompson and Hurtubise will both probably mix in there too, both of whom have some upside in their own rights.

    • MBS

      I’m hoping Hurtubise starts in AAA this year. Hinds is hard to project because he hasn’t stayed healthy enough to get into any kind of rhythm. Hendricks could turn it around, he’s got the pedigree, but it feels like a long shot at this point.

    • Stock

      I am on a different page than most on here. I have him as my 11th ranked prospect. I have CES as #12. I agree Hendrick stuck out a lot prior to Dayton. But there must be something in the water in Dayton (hopefully not the same stuff flowing in the Ohio river this week). Many players dramatically reduced their K% in Dayton in 2022 and not just Hendrick.

      How did I come about the ranking for Hendrick? First I compared him to CES. CES had a K/BB ratio of 6.3 while in Chattanooga. How does this compare to other free swinging power hitters? I only looked at 4 hitters but I am comfortable you would get similar results no matter what ML power hitter you looked at in the majors. Adolis Garcia and Joey Gallo had K/BB ratio’s under 3 when in AA. Javier Baez and Patrick Wisdom had K/BB ratios under 4 while in AA. Now lets look at the players with a K/BB ratio between 3 and 4 in 2022. In 2022 Baez had a K/BB ratio of 5.66 in 2022 with an Offensive WAR of -4.4. If you ignore 2018 his career offensive WAR is less than zero. Wisdom had a 3.5 K/BB ratio and an offensive WAR of 3.

      CES has a K/BB ratio 50% greater than Wisdom or Baez had when they were in AA. And these two are questionable as to their value offensively in the majors. To be successful in the majors CES will have to decrease his K/BB ratio by 50%.

      Now on to Austin Hendrick. He had a 1.76 K/BB ratio the last 5 weeks of the season and 3.7 overall in Dayton. Hendrick had a .226 ISO in Dayton and a .759 OPS. However in the last 5 weeks his ISO was .288 and his OPS was .920. The question for Hendrick is can he carry over the last 5 weeks of 2022 into 2023.

      I rate Hendrick above CES because I feel there is a much better chance of a player maintaining a K% and BB% than there is of reducing their K/BB ratio by 40% – 50%.

      Additionally, Hendrick is 21 and CES is 23.

      • AllTheHype

        Even if you cherry pick the last 5 weeks for Hendrick, his K rate is still 28% with .247 BA. In comparison, what K rate did the two of the most notorious K machines in MLB have in AA? Adam Dunn 14% (.334 BA) Chris Davis 16% (.318 BA).

        Even in those cherry picked 5 weeks, he K’d twice as much and his hit tool was drastically insufficient in comparison.

        Not sure how anyone can justify him being in any Reds top 30 list. He might have been drafted in the 1st round, but he’s nothing but organizational filler at this point.

        In the case of CES vs. Hendrick, it’s is more probable to improve plate discipline than it is to do a reverse 180 with contact rates and hit tool.

      • patrick

        CES is small sample size when you only do AA with Reds.
        Just adding AA with Twins drops it down to 4:1
        And he was less than 3to 1 in A+

        EDLC was 4:1 in AA

  6. DavveCT

    I wonder what his chase rate is, and if it improved along with his other numbers at the end of 2022. And/Or whether velocity gives him trouble. By all reports Austin is a hard worker, so it’ll (hopefully) be fun to follow him this year.

    • Stock

      Getting fancy and adding a v to your name. :)

      I read last year that while in Daytona his problem was that his swing was so upper cut that by the time the ball approached the bat the bat was often above the ball resulting in a swinging K.

      Maybe his hitting coach in Dayton leveled his swing and it took him a month to get comfortable and the change showing up in the boxscore. This is just a guess. I don’t have video of his swing in Daytona vs. his swing last August. If this is true I see no problem replacating his August stats in 2023.

      Here is video of his swing last spring:

  7. tom Turner

    Sometimes a kid just tries to do too much. This guy has plenty of power, you do not get any more runs for hitting it in the upper deck. I think if he focuses on making solid contact his natural power will take over, and his speed will then be more of a weapon.

  8. MK

    The kid improved from his start to finish in Dayton more than any other player on the team. Never once did I see him not hustle or Cadillac it like some other top picks have done.

    • DaveCT

      It must have been really tough for a kid to be drafted then not have a season. Followed by a wrist injury. I read somewhere recently the team knew he was rough around the edges and needed time.

  9. Old Big Ed

    I was skeptical about Hendrick until his development at Dayton. Dayton’s hitting coach last year was Daryle Ward, who will be at Chattanooga this year. Eric Richardson was at Chattanooga last year but is down a level at Dayton this year. I’m not sure how to interpret that factoid, but I suppose that the Reds wouldn’t keep Richardson if they didn’t like what he had done in 2022.

    I would start him back at Dayton; he’s still only 21 and is green for his age.

    • AllTheHype

      Hendrick with a baby step forward at best, when he needed a giant leap. He’s not really a prospect anymore at this point. His hit tool is just awful, no matter how many subsections you slice last year into.