Payton Henry Earns Surprise Invite To Camp
Catchers coming off their first season at low Class A don’t get invited to big league camp that often. That's why 21-year-old Payton Henry was beaming after getting the offseason call from Charlie Greene, the Brewers’ field coordinator and catching instructor.
"I didn’t expect it,” said Henry, a 2016 sixth-round pick out of Pleasant Grove (Utah) High. "It was really cool when Charlie called. My family was happy. I was happy.”
Catchers at Henry’s experience level aren’t typically ready to compete with big leaguers, but that's not the point. The Brewers regard Henry's talent and leadership so highly that they figured he would benefit in other ways.
"He’s a prospect,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It’s really interesting for us to see a guy like this in camp. This is an ‘eyes and ears’ camp for him, a way to learn a lot.
"He has got quite a way on his development curve left, but he is a talented young player.”
Henry spent 2016 and 2017 in Rookie ball before moving to the low Class A Midwest League in 2018. He hit .234/.327/.380 with 10 home runs in 98 games for Wisconsin.
But there was more to Henry’s season than just those numbers. He earned a minor league Gold Glove and threw out 44 percent of basestealers while taking charge behind the plate with a high energy level. Those traits come natural for Henry, whose father was his high school coach.
"It was just something where I was able to play well and kind of figure myself out, and what kind of player I am,” said Henry, who made the MWL all-star team. "Obviously, I still have a lot of room to grow and learn. I’m just trying to put in the time and work to make sure I’m ready for any situation.”
As for getting to big league camp so early in his career, Henry said, "Obviously, all these guys are here for a reason, and they’ve been here a lot longer than I have. I'm just keeping my mouth shut and staying focused. You can’t forget to have some fun and just be yourself.”
—Shortstop Mauricio Dubon, who missed most of 2018 recovering from a torn ACL in his knee, became so ill early in spring training he was admitted to a hospital for treatment and tests.
—Shortstop Brice Turang, a first-rounder out of high school last June, played three innings of the Brewers’ early exhibition game against the Angels and singled sharply in his first Cactus League at-bat.