Gunnar Henderson looks like he is here to stay with the Orioles.
Gunnar Henderson is now on the Orioles, ladies and gentlemen. It was just a matter of time before the current #2 MLB prospect made his debut with the club.
The 2019 2nd Round draft pick set Baltimore on fire with a home run in his second at-bat in the majors. We all know the expectations of him, but what the regular fan does not know is that he has been lighting up AAA Norfolk.
His 2022 stats include 65 AAA games, where he had 250 ABs, 72 H, 11 HR, 10 SB, and 41 RBIs. His slash line was .288/.390/.504 with an OPS of .894. Let’s go back to hits, HRs, SBs, and RBIs for a rundown of what that would have looked like on a full season in AAA. In a 150 game proration, which is a AAA season, that would equate to 166 H, 25 HRs, 23 SBs, and 95 RBIs. To put this into perspective, if we compare those numbers to players at the ML level, and this is just a comparison, he would rival top 3B such as Nolan Arenado, who has 28 HRs and 89 RBIs, and former Oriole Manny Machado, who has a .306 AVG, with 24 HRs, and 85 RBIs.
His BABIP, which measures his average without strikeouts and HRs, in AAA was .374, which shows solid contact on every other hit along with a little bit of luck while playing against fielders who are not at the ML level. Henderson’s ISO rating was .216. ISO measures the raw power of a hitter by taking only extra-base hits – and the type of extra-base hit – into account. To give you an idea of that rating’s significance, if he were able to continue that or reach that at the ML level, he would be put into the same range as Julio Rodriguez, who has a .205 rating, and Vladimir Guerrero, who has a rating of .219.
In AA, Rodriguez had a .184 ISO, he never played AAA, and Guerrero had a .227 ISO in 2018 and a .333 ISO in 2019. If these numbers are an indicator of the power and production at the plate then Oriole fans are in for a treat. Fellow rookie star Adley Rutschman had an ISO of .209 in 2022, and .178 in 2021. To add more statistics into the mix, Adley had a BB% of 13.2% in 2022 and 13.% in 2021. Gunnar had a 12.9% walk rate in AAA.
The influx of rookies this year has helped turn the team around almost immediately as the club is now in the mix for a WC spot this October. They are 2 GB of a spot entering Thursday. Rookies like Felix Bautista (and his whistle), Adley Rutschman, Kyle Stowers, and now, Gunnar Henderson have all helped a once decimated ball club become the topic of conversation. A notable key player in all of this has been Jorge Mateo, who has 2 years of service in the MLB and has quickly risen to the ranks as one of the league’s best defensive shortstops.
Lastly, in order for a player to be eligible for Rookie status, they must have been on the ML roster for less than 45 days, and have less than 130 at-bats. In order for a player to be eligible to play in the post-season, they must be listed on the 40-man roster by August 31st. That means, Gunnar Henderson and Kyle Stowers could play the rest of the season and be eligible to play in an Orioles post-season, and possibly start off 2023 as ML rookies.