Reds Outfielder Austin Hendrick Works Toward Breakout 2022 Campaign
The professional debut for outfielder Austin Hendrick didn’t quite go as planned.
After being drafted 12th overall in 2020 out of West Allegheny High in Imperial, Pa., Hendrick had his chance for a first pro summer scuttled by the coronavirus pandemic.
“He’s a high school kid from the Northeast who missed a lot of time his senior year because of Covid and didn’t really have a (pro debut) season because of Covid," Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said, "so his first ever campaign in pro ball was full season."
Cincinnati sent Hendrick to Low-A Daytona to begin 2021. While he showed good power at times and drew 51 walks, he hit just .211 to go with 100 strikeouts in just 63 games after missing time due to a groin injury and then a wrist injury late in the year.
“We were not disappointed in any way in what he’s done,” Pender said. “But did we see things that were of concern? Yes. There are some things he needs to change in his approach.”
in January, the 6-foot, 195-pound Hendrick began working with the Reds' new minor league hitting coordinator to rework his approach in preparation for spring training.
“As far as the bat speed, the power, the work ethic, the makeup—all of those things, we were very pleased with what we saw in 2021,” Pender said. “We just have to build off of it and build out a better program for him and get him back on track.
"He was hitting for exit velocity and power and launch angle as opposed to making himself into the best hitter he can be and we’re in the process of rebooting that. “
Whether the 20-year-old will begin 2022 back at Low-A Daytona or move up to High-A Dayton was still to be determined. His offseason work, health and how things look in spring training will play a role in that decision.
“I certainly expect that we’ll see far stronger things from him this year,” Pender said.