This former Top 100 prospect is off to a smashing-good start in 2022

Team Howard outfielder Austin Hendrick (12) at bat.
Team Howard outfielder Austin Hendrick (12) at bat. / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As recent as 2020, Austin Hendrick was seen as a Top 100 prospect in baseball. But the former Pennsylvania high school standout took a tumble down the rankings, falling all the way to No. 11 in the Cincinnati Reds farm system according to MLB Pipeline.

Keith Law of The Athletic (subscription required) didn't even include Hendrick among the Top 20 within the Reds farm system calling him a "bat-only guy who didn’t hit in Low A last year".

FanGraphs offers the most positive review of Hendrick, ranking the former first-round pick as the team's No. 10 prospect. Still, the outlet refers to Hendrick tracking toward becoming a platoon bat in the major leagues.

Well, if the first week of the minor league season is any indicator, it would appear than Austin Hendrick is taking a page out of the Tommy Pham playbook and looking to start his revenge tour in 2022.

Reds prospect Austin Hendrick is crushing the ball in the early-going.

Austin Hendrick capped off his Easter Sunday with a pair of home runs, going 3-for-4 with two solo shots, two RBIs, and three runs scored. Hendrick and fellow first-round pick Jay Allen II helped power the Daytona Tortugas, the Cincinnati Reds Los-A affiliate, to a 4-3 win over the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Hendrick has gotten off to a smashing good start to the 2022 season. The left-handed hitting outfielder is 7-for-25 in seven games, and though Hendrick has gone swinging 11 times this season, he's also amassed seven free passes.

Increasing that walk-rate and finding a way to lower his strikeout-rate will be key to whether or not Austin Hendrick exceeds expectations in 2022 or proves all the pundits correct. It should be noted that Hendrick dealt with a leg injury last season that limited him to just 63 games.

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The Cincinnati Reds can afford to be patient with Hendrick, as after all the COVID pandemic wiped out his first minor league season with the club. There might not be a prospect in the Reds system with raw power than Hendrick, and if he can make contact, the sky is the limit for the 20-year-old.