5 Reds prospects to watch at High-A Dayton in 2023

Mainland's Chase Petty is the 2021 South Jersey Baseball Player of the Year.
Mainland's Chase Petty is the 2021 South Jersey Baseball Player of the Year. / Adam Monacelli/Courier-Post via Imagn
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5. Reds prospects to watch at High-A Dayton in 2023: Austin Hendrick

Oh boy! We've all heard about Austin Hendrick before, right? Former first-round pick with tremndous power. Hendrick, surprisingly, opened last season at Low-A Daytona despite playing 63 games with the Torgugas the year before.

Having played 73 games with the Dayton Dragons in 2022, it seems rather likely that Hendrick will return to High-A to begin his 2023 campaign. If there was any one prospect that the Cincinnati Reds organization is hoping to see "figure it out" during the upcoming season, it's Hendrick.

Not just because the team spent a first-round pick on the outfield prospect back in 2020, though that certainly has something to do with it. But because the Reds are so thin when it comes to top-notch outfield prospects that the club needs a player like Hendrick to live up to his potential.

Hendrick made some strides last season, but also to posted a strikeout-rate above 35-percent. Hendrick had 42 extra-base hits in 2022, half of which were home runs. The power is there, but with a walk-rate below 10-percent and a batting average of just .212, one has to wonder if Hendrick is ever going to live up to the lofty expectations that come with being a top draft pick.

It's easy to forget that Austin Hendrick had his entire senior season of high school wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic and then limped through an injury-plagued 2021 season. Last year, was Hendrick's first full year as a professional. If he can build off that, the Reds might truly have something.

Make no mistake, the Cincinnati Reds did not reach to take Hendrick with the 12th-overall pick in 2020. There were plenty of teams that were projected to take the Pennsylvania native ahead of them in that year's draft. It's unfair to call 2023 a make-or-break season for Hendrick, but the organization is definitely expecting to see some big improvements when it comes to plate discipline.

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