Orioles promote Gunnar Henderson: Top prospect homener in MLB debut as Baltimore Guardians empties

The Baltimore Orioles promoted top contender Gunnar Henderson to the majors on Wednesday, and it wasn’t long before he hit his first career home run in his second at-bat. Just look:

Henderson went 2 for 4 when he later added a ninth inning single in a 4-0 win (box score).

Henderson, 21, was the Orioles’ second-round choice in high school in 2019 and has since moved quickly through the system. The Orioles let him play third and bat sixth against the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday.

He played in 47 games in Double-A that season before moving to Triple-A, where he made 65 appearances. Overall, he’s hitting .297/.416/.531 in 2022 with 24 doubles, seven trebles, 19 homers and 76 RBI, 101 runs and 22 steals in 112 games. Henderson has primarily played third base and shortstop at both stations this season.

CBS Sports’ RJ Anderson recently explained why Henderson was arguably considered the top contender among the minors:

He impresses scouts with his above-average raw power and defensive potential. The Orioles have coached him at both left infield positions throughout his career, but scouts expect him to end up at third base long-term.

Henderson joined an Orioles team that is surprisingly pushing for a playoff spot. The O’s went into action Wednesday with a 67-61 record, which puts them three games behind the Blue Jays for the last American League wildcard spot. Henderson would be eligible for the postseason list with his call-up Wednesday if they make it.

It’s worth noting that Henderson has seen very limited time at second base, but that it has started recently. In his last nine games, Henderson has played at second base six times. The move is perhaps a precursor to Henderson taking over second base from Rougned Odor with Jorge Mateo at shortstop and Ramón Urías at third.

The Orioles also have the ability to combine and move Henderson between positions.

Another intriguing level here: The Orioles are the only team in baseball with two 20+ stolen basemen in Cedric Mullins and Mateo — and they’re both nearly 30 years old. Henderson has 22 steals in the minors, so promoting them makes them another strong threat on the base paths.

The Orioles promoted top prospect Adleyrutschman earlier in the season and he’ll likely finish second in the AL Rookie of the Year poll, if not to win the prize. Henderson’s addition into the mix only adds more excitement to the Orioles and their fans.

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/orioles-promote-gunnar-henderson-top-prospect-homers-in-mlb-debut-as-baltimore-blanks-guardians/ Orioles promote Gunnar Henderson: Top prospect homener in MLB debut as Baltimore Guardians empties

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