Reds outfielder tumbles down MLB Pipeline's most recent prospect rankings

Team Howard outfielder Austin Hendrick (12) fields a ball.
Team Howard outfielder Austin Hendrick (12) fields a ball. / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Pipeline just released their most recent rankings for the Cincinnati Reds, and former first-round pick Austin Hendrick tumbled from No. 6 to No. 11. That's quite the fall for Hendrick, but after a sub-par performance in 2021, it's not entirely surprising.

Don't let these new rankings sully your opinion of Hendrick, as the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season due to the coronavirus pandemic certainly affected the 20-year-old's development. Furthermore, as I just mentioned, Hendrick is just 20 years old and has just 63 professional games under his belt.

Reds OF Austin Hendrick tumbled in recent prospect rankings.

Austin Hendrick's first professional season did not go as he or the Cincinnati Reds organization had planned. But, these things happen, and there's no reason to be soured to the recent rankings put out by MLB Pipeline.

Hendrick appeared in 63 games, and honestly, the results were not that bad. The outfield prospect posted a wRC+ of 119 and had a walk-rate of 19.2% in 266 plate appearances. Hendrick smashed seven round trippers and recorded a modest .388 slugging percentage.

Now, the problem with Hendrick's first season is the ridiculously high 37.6% strikeout-rate. The left-handed power hitter went down swinging 100 times last season. Wow! Hendrick also suffered a leg injury last season, which limited the number of games the former first-round pick actually appeared in.

Reports from MLB Pipeline suggest that Austin Hendrick has slimmed down, and the weight loss may actually help him stay in center field. However, over the long haul, if he bat produces as the organization hopes, Hendrick will likely line up in right field due to his plus-arm.

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Don't get too out of sorts, Reds fans. It's still very early in Hendrick's career to call him a bust. However, it is tough to see a former first-round selection take such a tumble. The Cincinnati Reds are most likely going deploy Hendrick to Low-A Daytona to begin the 2022 season.