Reds prospects: Don't give up on former 1st-round pick Austin Hendrick.
Austin Hendrick has faced a tough road since being taken in Round 1 of the 2020 MLB Draft. The Pennsylvania high school slugger, much like Rece Hinds, was highly-regarded for his power. But scouts knew he'd need to work on making contact. However, I'm not sure the Reds scouts thought he'd struggle this much.
Hendrick has posted a strikeout-rate above 35-percent at every minor league stop he's made to this point in his professional career. While it's debatable as to which prospect has more power, Hendrick or Hinds, there's no doubt that it won't amount to a hill of beans if he strikes out 35-plus percent of the time.
But, unlike Hinds and Austin Callihan, the Reds have an extra year to decide whether or not to add Austin Hendrick to the 40-man roster. Being drafted a year after the aofrementioned prep players, the deadline to add Hendrick to the 40-man roster or risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft is not until the 2024 offseason.
That gives Hendrick one more season to put it all together. Not yet 22 years old, Hendrick also possesses another tool beyond his power that Hinds and Callihan do not. Hendrick is an above-average defender with a plus-arm.
This year may well define Austin Hendrick's future with the organization, but Cincinnati should not give up on the former first-round pick just yet. That said, Hendrick can't end the year with another unproductive showing. He's yet to graduate to Double-A, and hasn't given the Reds' brass much faith that he's earned that opportunity. The clock's ticking.