Austin Hendrick Is An Open Book
Like all 2020 daft picks, Austin Hendrick faced a situation unprecedented in scale.
The 19-year-old outfielder signed in late June for $4 million as—but the 12th overall pick had no minor league team to join amid the pandemic.
In a year unlike any other, major league teams had alternate training sites where as many as 60 players would participate and stay ready in case the big league team needed to call someone up. Teams used some of those roster spots for the development of prospects.
That's what the Reds did, though they pivoted to prospect development late in the season. Hendrick joined the Reds alternate site as a member of the 60-man player pool with a week remaining in the regular season before moving on to instructional league.
“He looked really good,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said. “He swung the bat very well.”
Hendrick is from Pennsylvania, and players coming from cold-weather states are at times a little behind their warm-weather counterparts because they see less time on the field as a result of that weather.
For Hendrick, that didn’t appear to be the case at instructional league. He is a lefthanded hitter known for his raw power, but some of the other aspects of Hendrick’s game stand out.
“Some of the experience things, like baserunning and outfield play—he actually made a couple of really nice plays," Pender said. "He runs the bases very aggressively.”
Hendrick used the time in Arizona to his advantage at instructional league, soaking up information from the coaches and staff as he seeks to improve.
“He’s a very conscientious worker with really good make up,” Pender said. “There’s things he needs to improve on, and the great thing about him is that he’s an open book and always asking questions and really diligently doing all of the things we’ve asked.
"I'm really pleased with what I’ve seen thus far."
— Righthander Jose De Leon posted a 1.86 ERA in six starts in the Puerto Rican League regular season and playoffs. The starter struck out 53 batters with 11 walks in 29 innings while giving up 13 hits for Caguas.