When the top minor leaguers in the country arrive at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 16, one of the youngest prospects there will be a fast-rising Orioles infielder.
Gunnar Henderson, who has risen to Triple-A Norfolk as a 21-year-old, will be Baltimore’s lone representative in the 2022 MLB All-Star Futures Game. Henderson ranks as the second-best prospect still in the Orioles’ farm system, according to Baseball America.
Henderson was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft out of John T. Morgan Academy in Alabama, one round behind top overall pick Adley Rutschman — the Orioles’ marquee representative in last season’s Futures Game alongside right-hander Marcos Diplán.
“It’s a fun event,” Rutschman said. “They do a great job. It’s a cool thing, and it’s in LA this year, so that’ll be a good time. He’s a great player and it’s gonna be fun for him.”
With Rutschman catching in the majors and right-hander Grayson Rodriguez on the injured list with a right lat muscle strain, Henderson is the highest ranking prospect in Baltimore’s system currently playing. He ranks as the No. 33 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, and he’s shown his hitting prowess at each level in the minors.
In Triple-A this season, Henderson is batting .274 with five homers in 25 games. He hit for the cycle last week — the night before his 21st birthday — becoming the first Tides player to accomplish the feat in 22 years. Before his promotion to the highest level in the minors, Henderson hit .312 with a 1.025 OPS at Double-A Bowie this year, building off a 2021 season in which he jumped three levels.
Before Rutschman and Diplán in 2021, Rodriguez and left-hander DL Hall represented the Orioles in the 2019 Futures Game. Hall, who is also playing for Norfolk, recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts Wednesday for the Tides.
Other recent Baltimore prospects to participate in the Futures Game include right-hander Hunter Harvey (2013), catcher Chance Sisco (2016 and 2017), left-hander Tanner Scott (2017), outfielder Ryan Mountcastle (2018) and left-hander Alexander Wells (2018).
The Orioles will also have a major league representative at the July 19 All-Star Game, with closer Jorge López, starting pitcher Tyler Wells and outfielder Austin Hays all potential candidates.