Orioles fans, the wait is over. Ahead of Wednesday’s contest with the Cleveland Guardians, the Baltimore Orioles selected the contract of their top prospect and second rated prospect in all of baseball, Gunnar Henderson.
The move comes a day before active major league rosters were set to expand from 26 players to 28. The Orioles seemingly weren’t interested in waiting an extra day. Tyler Nevin was optioned to Triple A Norfolk to make room on the active roster, while Denyi Reyes was DFA’d to make room on the 40 man roster.
To start the season, Henderson was at Double A Bowie. He spent 47 games with the Baysox, hitting .312 with a .452 on base percentage, .573 slugging percentage, and 1.025 OPS, adding eight home runs and 35 RBI’s before being promoted to Norfolk.
The Baltimore Orioles have (finally) called up top prospect Gunnar Henderson
When he was promoted to Norfolk, he was still a 20 year old, and the youngest player in Triple A. He didn’t let that stop him. Prior to the callup, Henderson was hitting .288 with a .390 on base percentage, .504 slugging percentage, and .894 OPS, slugging 11 home runs to go with 41 RBI’s in 65 games for the Tides.
Henderson’s surge of production this season skyrocketed him in the prospect rankings, going from number 64 in baseball at the start of the season to number two at the time of the callup, as per MLB Pipeline. He collected player of the week honors once with the Baysox and once with the Tides, and was a part of the AL’s Futures Game roster this year at Dodger Stadium.
The big question that remains with Henderson is where he will fit into the infield. He is a natural shortstop, but Jorge Mateo has earned his spot there with strong play this season. Ramón Urías in his own right has had a strong season manning the hot corner, but there is the possibility of a platoon situation there. Henderson made some starts at second base with Norfolk in the chance that he could play there alongside Rougned Odor, and he also was seen at first base briefly with the Tides.
But, when you have someone with the talent and the ability that Henderson has, the Baltimore Orioles and Brandon Hyde will find a way to get him in the lineup. Also, because he was called up prior to September 1, he is eligible for the postseason roster if the Orioles can squeak out a playoff spot. This is going to be one fun month.