His exit velocity numbers elicited a rare Mike Trout comparison on draft night, while comparisons to Jay Bruce continue to pop up, too. The combination of light tower power in his lefty swing and an arm that seems ideally suited for right field helped make Pennsylvania high schooler Austin Hendrick a lock for the 1st round of this year’s modified MLB Draft, and the Cincinnati Reds jumped at the chance to select him 12th overall.
According to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline, Hendrick is now officially in the fold, signing for $4 million in a slightly under-slot deal.
Per @jimcallisMLB, t he #Reds have agreed to a deal with No. 12 overall #MLBDraft pick Austin Hendrick for $4 million (slot value = $4,366,400).— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 26, 2020
Here's a look at the @Reds' 2020 @MLBDraft picks, slot values and signing bonuses: https://t.co/ODzRbHy7RI pic.twitter.com/18YdKfvOYh
Hendrick joins 4th round pick Mac Wainwright as the lone Reds draftees to have signed thus far, which is interesting given that both were high school selections and neither required a signing bonus over slot value. Perhaps that’s an indication that compensation round B pick Jackson Miller, the lone other high school draftee in the Reds class, might well need an overslot deal to convince him to turn pro in lieu of matriculating to Wake Forest University in the fall.
Hendrick has already slotted into the back end of multiple revised Top 100 overall prospect lists, seemingly ranked just about the same in the grand scheme as the cluster of Reds prospects including Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, Jose Garcia, and Tyler Stephenson. The lone question now, of course, is what the Reds do with him this season given that there will be no minor league baseball.
Will he cut his chops as part of the 60-man player pool? Will the Reds send him to Goodyear for workouts? Will he be part of a ramped-up Arizona Fall League later this summer? All questions that I completely cannot answer, but ones we’ll hopefully see clearer in the coming weeks as this pandemic continues to throw even the best laid plans into chaos.
Either way, Hendrick’s going to be a big part of the future of the Reds, and that’s now signed on the dotted line.