Jonathan Hennigan Earns Big League Camp Invite
The challenge of being ready for game action was steep for every minor leaguer who did not get a chance to compete in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lefthander Jonathan Hennigan made six relief appearances in the Australian Baseball League this winter. He gave up no hits, no runs and struck out 10 in 8.2 innings.
“He put in a lot of time and effort during the hiatus, did a great job with his player development plan,” Phillies farm director Josh Bonifay said. “For not being at our alternate site last summer, he showed up ready to go in Australia and had an outstanding winter.”
The 6-foot-4, 193-pound Hennigan's work in Australia was so encouraging that it earned him an invite to big league spring training camp.
The 26-year-old lefty was a 21st-round pick out of Texas State in 2016. He pitched well in the Arizona Fall League in 2018 and High-A and Double-A in 2019, putting up a 3.80 ERA mark between the two levels. He features a fastball that sits 93-94 mph and tops out at 96, a sweeping slider and a splitter.
Control has been an issue throughout Hennigan’s career, and he walked seven batters in those 8.2 innings in Australia. But overall, reports from Chris Adamson, Hennigan’s manager in Adelaide who also manages in the Phillies' system, were excellent.
“Chris said he was filthy and he was attacking hitters,” Bonifay said. “If he’s not getting a strikeout, he’s getting weak contact or a ground ball.
“He made some minor tweaks to his delivery during the hiatus and he’s repeating his delivery more consistently. It’s a lower arm slot, deceptive, a little funky. The ball kind of comes out behind a lefthanded hitter’s head . . .
"But he’s not boxed in as a guy who can just face lefties. He’s put himself in a position to be a reliever who faces lefties and righties.”