clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Saturday Bird Droppings: Gunnar Henderson is the man of the hour

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Everybody loves Gunnar Henderson. How could you not? He has all the tools you could ever want from your top prospect, and the production to match. Plus, he’s already got major league experience. There isn’t a ton of guess work to be done. We’ve seen it!

Its not just the eye test of baseball fans at-large, but the honed opinion of analysts paid to evaluate young players. Henderson ticks all of the boxes and has already topped three public-facing prospect rankings.

The 21-year-old is also one of the biggest x-factors in the Orioles lineup. Is he the shortstop or the third baseman? Scouts believe he could do either, although they do think higher of him at the hot corner. But if he could hold down shortstop that likely allows for the best possible version of this roster in the short term.

Ramòn Urìas’ bat would then replace Jorge Mateo’s and it keeps Mateo’s legs and glove on the bench for a late-inning substitution. Perhaps that’s too limited of a role for a player as talented as Mateo, but it would still utilize his top two skills, even if in smaller doses.

Henderson wouldn’t need to be “the shortstop of the future” for the Orioles. He just needs to stick there for two or three seasons, long enough for Jackson Holliday to work his way up the organizational ladder. That’s something that both the top pick in 2022 and the front office seem confident in happening sooner rather than later. Sometime in mid-2024 doesn’t seem entirely impossible.


Here are all of our No. 1 overall prospects, ranked | MLB Pipeline
This is a fun experiment to try and put some historical context around how good Gunnar Henderson is right now. Of course, being the “top prospect” in baseball does not guarantee the player is a future Hall of Famer, but this list is full of some pretty productive hitters and pitchers. Quite exciting if you ask me!

Meet Lewin Díaz, Baseball’s Biggest Hot-Potato Prospect | FiveThirtyEight
We already know about Díaz and his journey this offseason, but who can ever get enough content about a minor league first baseman?

Will 2023 be the summer of Gunnar? |
It’s gonna have to be for the Orioles to make a postseason push. Look, this team’s roster is plenty talented, but they need the duo of Henderson and Adley Rutschman to really pop off at the plate to support a pitching staff that is more likely to be solid than superlative.

Orioles Sign Curtis Terry To Minor League Contract | MLB Trade Rumors
Another first baseman with major league experience? Terry was in the Twins organization last season, although he never made it up to Minnesota. His lone big league stint came in a 13-game sample with the 2021 Rangers, a team that went 60-102. If he ends up spending any time on the Orioles’ active roster this season then something horribly wrong has probably happened.

Orioles roster seems to be nearing completion but hasn’t necessarily reached that point | Roch Kubatko
Never say never, but yeah it does feel like every member of the Opening Day squad is probably in the organization right now. The rotation still needs a high-end hurler, but they have more than five fine options that should get them through to the trade deadline or the return of John Means.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Wesley Wright turns 38. The left-handed pitcher appeared in two games for the 2015 Orioles before he was released that July.

This day in O’s history

1982 - The Orioles send third baseman Doug DeCinces and pitcher Jeff Schneider to the California Angels in exchange for outfielder Dan Ford.

2000 - Free agent pitcher Pat Rapp signs with the Orioles.