Minor League Baseball today announced that right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez and infielder Gunnar Henderson have been named to the International League All-Star Team. Along with an All-Star nomination, Henderson was named the 2022 Top MLB Prospect in the International League. The two are the first Tides to earn an International
Minor League Baseball today announced that right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez and infielder Gunnar Henderson have been named to the International League All-Star Team. Along with an All-Star nomination, Henderson was named the 2022 Top MLB Prospect in the International League. The two are the first Tides to earn an International League Postseason All-Star selection since first baseman Ryan Mountcastle in 2019, who was also named the International League Most Valuable Player. What was formerly known as the International League Rookie of the Year Award prior to the 2021 season, Henderson becomes the first Tide to win the Top MLB Prospect Award since right-handed pitcher Jason Isringhausen did so in 1995. For the All-Star selections and yearly award winners, votes were cast by league managers.
GRAYSON RODRIGUEZ, 22, is currently ranked the top pitching prospect according to MLB Pipeline, while ranking as the #4 prospect in all of baseball. Rodriguez had a strong start in his first season at the Triple-A level. From the beginning of the season through June 1 he dominated the International League, ranking first in WHIP (0.84), opponent’s average (.168), opponent’s slugging (.254), and strikeouts (80), while ranking second in ERA (2.09). Rodriguez would injure himself on June 1 with a lat strain, putting him out until September. He had a very strong May, earning International League Pitcher of the Week from May 23 - 29 and subsequently won International League Pitcher of the Month for May. During the month, he started in six games and recorded a 3-1 record, allowing a 2.25 ERA (8 ER, 32.0 IP). He limited opponents to a .177 batting average (20-for-113) and a 0.97 WHIP. He struck out 48 batters while walking 11. Rodriguez was one of four pitchers in the International League to make six starts, ranking among league leaders for the month in strikeouts (1st), innings pitched (1st), opponent’s average (2nd), WHIP (3rd), ERA (3rd), and wins (T-5th). The 48 strikeouts set a calendar month record for the Tides as an Orioles affiliate, along with the calendar month record of strikeouts per 9.0 innings (min. 25.0 IP) with 13.50. Rodriguez returned from his injury on September 16 to make his final three starts of 2022, finishing with a 6-1 record with a 2.20 ERA (17 ER, 69.2 IP) in 14 starts with 97 strikeouts to 21 walks. Rodriguez was selected by the Orioles in the first round (No. 11 overall) of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Central Heights High School (Nacogdoches, Texas).
GUNNAR HENDERSON, 21, is currently ranked the second-best prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline. He began the season with Double-A Bowie before making his Triple-A debut with the Tides on June 8. On top of his International League All-Star selection and being named Top MLB Prospect, Baseball America named Henderson Minor League Player of the Year. His most notable game was on June 28 vs. Gwinnett when he hit for the cycle, the first Tide to do so since Timo Pérez on June 9, 2000. He earned a Future’s Game Selection as well, becoming the seventh Tide to play in the exhibition since 2007. From his first game to his final game with the Tides on August 30, Henderson led the International League in runs (60), while ranking among leaders in walks (T-3rd, 38), triples (T-5th, 4), hits (6th, 72), extra-base hits (T-7th, 28) and on-base percentage (8th, .390). It’s the second consecutive season the International League named a 21-year old Top MLB Prospect (Bobby Witt, Jr., 2021 with Omaha) and is the second player all-time to earn the award that was born in the state of Alabama (Marlon Anderson, 1998 with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre from Montgomery, Alabama). Henderson was selected by the Orioles in the 2nd round (No. 42 overall) of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of John T. Morgan Academy (Selma, Alabama).