The Reds have agreed to terms on a $4MM signing bonus with first-round pick Austin Hendrick, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (Twitter link). That’s a bit shy of the $4,366,400 value associated with Hendrick’s No. 12 slot. A high school outfielder from Pennsylvania, the 19-year-old Hendrick had been committed to Mississippi State but will instead turn pro.
Widely regarded as one of the top prep bats in this year’s draft, Hendrick is touted for his raw power and bat speed — two traits that landed him as a slam-dunk first-rounder on virtually any pre-draft rankings one could find. Baseball America tabbed him ninth in this year’s class. MLB.com ranked him 13th, as did FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel. Keith Law of The Athletic ranked Hendrick 21st. He’s also credited with an above-average arm, giving him the profile of a prototypical slugging right fielder. He’s seen as an average or better runner for now, though, so Callis notes that there’s a chance he could handle center field at the game’s top level as well.
If there are red flags in the reports on Hendrick, it’s his penchant for swinging and missing and the fact that he’s a bit old for the class, having turned 19 shortly after the draft. Hendrick didn’t face tons of premium pitching in high school, either, so he could have some adjustments to make in pro ball. As with so many high school draftees, then, there’s a fair bit of risk associated with Hendrick but also tantalizing upside. He’ll bring one of the draft’s most powerful bats to a Reds system that is currently lacking on premium outfield prospects.