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10 facts about the Reds' top pick Austin Hendrick

@MannyOnMLB
June 10, 2020

Here are 10 things to know about prep outfielder Austin Hendrick, the Reds' No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 Draft.

Here are 10 things to know about prep outfielder Austin Hendrick, the Reds' No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 Draft.

• The name of the game for Hendrick is bat speed. His hitting coach on the USA 18U National Team the past two summers told Baseball America it is "utterly elite." Along with that elite bat speed, the 6-foot, 195-pound Hendrick has tremendous power from the left side of the plate.

• Hendrick, who played for West Allegheny (Pennsylvania) High School, also played for the Collier Township Little League team in Western Pennsylvania when he was younger. That team went undefeated until the state championship round in 2014, when it lost to Mo'ne Davis and her Taney (Philadelphia) team, which came within one victory of the Little League World Series championship game that year.

• Hendrick's mother, Gina [Venezia] Hendrick, was a star gymnast at the University of Pittsburgh.

• Back in 2018, Hendrick took some batting practice with former Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, whom Pittsburgh selected in the first round (11th overall) of the 2004 MLB Draft out of nearby Pine-Richland High School in Gibsonia. Based on projections, Hendrick could go around the same time in this year's Draft. Another Major League player Hendrick looks up to, at least as far as pregame routines go, is Ben Gamel, who would cut open an energy drink with his cleat before Brewers games last year.

• Hendrick, 18, won the 2019 Under Armour All-America Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field ahead of the All-America Game, one of the premier events of the annual baseball showcase circuit.

• Given the tremendous speed with which his bat travels through the zone, it makes sense when you hear who Hendrick's favorite baseball players -- both past and active -- are. According to Baseball America, Hendrick's favorite player of all time is Ken Griffey Jr., a Hall of Fame center fielder who had one of the smoothest -- and quickest -- swings in baseball history. His favorite current player is Bryce Harper, whose bat speed makes for one of the most violently beautiful swings in the game today.

• Hendrick is considered the best hitter in this year's high school Draft class, and he has verbally committed to Mississippi State for 2021. During last year's MLB High School All-Star Game at Progressive Field, MLB Network's Harold Reynolds ran out to right field to interview the heralded prospect while the game was in progress. During the High School All-Star Game festivities in Cleveland, Hendrick also participated in the Home Run Derby.

• Hendrick has the ability to play center field but may profile better as a right fielder as a professional. He has a very strong arm that could make him a good fit there. He also showed off his defense in right field during last year's WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea.

• According to MLB Pipeline, there were some concerns last summer over the increased strikeout rate that came with a mechanical change to Hendrick's setup at the plate, but he still has the most upside of any high school hitter in the Draft.

• Even with the increase in strikeouts, Hendrick demonstrated his elite power in some big moments on the showcase circuit last summer, including a three-run, opposite-field home run on Day 3 of the MLB Prospect Development Pipeline. The ball came off the bat with an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.