By Ray Hamill — Former Humboldt Crabs player Damian Henderson has signed a professional contract with the Cincinnati Reds, and the club’s head coach Robin Guiver believes he has all the tools to succeed.
“He was one of those special guys I was fortunate to coach that I’ll always remember,” Guiver said. “He showed up at the yard every day ready to go and he made everybody else feel better about themselves. And he had a tremendous amount of talent.”
Henderson played one summer with the Crabs in 2019, making an immediate impact and setting the club single-season record for most home runs with a wood bat, hitting 10.
Henderson also can pitch, however, and Guiver believes the Reds signed him as a potential two-way player.
The left-handed Henderson did not pitch for the Crabs because of a lingering injury, but he impressed his head coach in bull pen sessions.
“Not that many lefties can throw at 96 miles per hour, so he’s going to get opportunities,” said Guiver, who described his pitching as “electric.”
Henderson also did not pitch in a shortened season for Cal State Bakersfield this past spring, but the junior was outstanding at the plate.
He recorded at least one hit in 12 of the team’s 14 games, hitting .321 and leading his team in hits (17), extra-base hits (5), on-base percentage (.446), slugging-percentage (.528) and runs batted in (10).
According to Guiver, Henderson was expected to be taken somewhere between the fifth and 15th rounds in this year’s MLB Draft, before it was cut down to just five rounds because of COVID-19.
Henderson signed with the Reds on Friday as a free agent.
Guiver remembers him as a multi-talented threat.
“He was probably the fastest guy we had on our team, and he definitely had the most power, and he probably had the best arm,” the Crabs coach said. “And I can’t say enough about his make-up and the kind of guy he is.
“I’m super excited for him.”