During a sensational season when he was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A and continued to put up good numbers and then hit for the cycle, O’s prospect Gunnar Henderson added another honor today. He has been selected to play for the American League team in the All-Star Futures Game.
Henderson, the youngest player in the International League, is the only O’s prospect selected for the seven-inning game with the American League prospects facing the young stars from National League affiliates. It takes place Saturday, July 16 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles at 7 p.m. ET.
Henderson, who just turned 21 on June 29, has had a Player of the Year type of season on the O’s farm this year. He got off to a strong start with Double-A Bowie, and on June 6 it was announced that he and teammate Jordan Westburg were being promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. Two days later they played their first game there. Henderson homered in his first Triple-A game.
For the season between the two teams over 72 games, he has batted .298/.429/.548/.977 and scored 66 runs to go with 16 doubles, four triples, 13 homers and 51 RBIs. He has walked 58 times and struck out 68.
He hit the ground running this year and posted an .885 OPS in April with Bowie, and then really turned it up weeks later, posting a 1.079 OPS in May. On June 28 he hit for the cycle for Norfolk, one day before his 21st birthday. He singled in the first, recorded a two-run triple in the third, hit a solo homer in the fifth and doubled in the sixth. It was the first cycle by a Norfolk player since Timo Pérez on June 9, 2000.
In 47 games with Bowie he batted .312/.452/.573/.1.025 with 11 doubles, three triples, eight homers, 35 RBIs and 12 steals in 14 attempts, and scored 41 runs. He made remarkable improvement in plate discipline in 2022 and has walked more than he has struck out, 41 to 38, for the Baysox.
In 25 games with Norfolk, Henderson has hit .274/.386/.505/.891 with five homers and 16 RBIs, and he has walked 17 times and struck out 30 times while playing for the Tides.
This will be the seventh time as an Orioles affiliate (which the team has been since 2007) that the Norfolk Tides have sent a player to the Futures Game. Henderson is the first since Marcos Diplán, who made it last year. The others to play in the exhibition game were Chance Sisco (2016), Zach Davies (2015), Henry Urrutia (2013), Chris Tillman (2009) and Garrett Olson (2007).
At the time of his promotion to Triple-A this year, Henderson was ranked as the No. 37 prospect in the Baseball America top 100, and No. 46 by MLBPipeline.com. When the latter outlet updated its rankings a few days ago, Henderson had shot up to No. 5 on that list.
Now he is headed for Los Angeles next weekend to represent the Orioles in the game that features some of the biggest prospects in baseball.