Gunnar Henderson preparing for bright future with Baltimore Orioles

Published 12:18 pm Friday, July 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t stopping Gunnar Henderson from training for a promising future in Major League Baseball with the Baltimore Orioles.

The former Morgan Academy shortstop works out four times a week at CrossFit and practicing on baseball fields five times a week.

Henderson was slated to play in the Orioles’ Farm System this season until MLB canceled the minor league season because of the coronavirus.

“It hasn’t really affected my preparation because I’ve been able to hit, field and workout, but I’m ready to be back playing,” Henderson said.

The Orioles picked Henderson in the second round of the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft. He signed a contract that included a $2.3 million bonus, choosing pro baseball over playing baseball at Auburn.

Henderson got off to a strong start as a pro, hitting  .259 with a homer and 11 RBI on the Orioles’ rookie squad last fall.

The MLB community is high on the potential of Henderson, The Selma Times-Journal baseball player of the year in 2019.

“He’s a tremendous athlete and reminds me a lot of Chipper Jones as a youngster,” MLB commentator Harold Reynolds said. “He’s powerful from the left side and can swing the bat.

MLB Pipeline ranks Henderson as one of the top prospects to watch in 2022, saying he has a chance to hit for average and power.

Henderson is ranked sixth and eighth among Baltimore prospects in the MLB season previews at Athlon and Street and Smith Magazine.

“Gunnar Henderson was one of the fastest risers in the draft, especially as a hitter,” Street and Smith wrote. “He resembles the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager in many ways.”

As a senior at Morgan Academy, Henderson earned several accolades for guiding the Senators to the AISA State Baseball Championship Series. He hit .559 with 11 homers, 17 doubles, nine triples and 75 RBI.

Henderson was named the 2019 Gatorade prep baseball player of the year in Alabama, state’s Mr. Baseball by the Alabama Sportswriters Association (ASWA), the AISA’s player of the year, hitter of the year and made the all-state team.

On the basketball court, Henderson was equally impressive. He averaged 17 points a game, made The Selma Times-Journal All Dallas County basketball team, named the AISA’s basketball player of the year and MVP at the AISA All-Star basketball game.