Jeff Hendrix was drafted by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. The outfielder attended Oregon State where he was selected in 2014, but he chose to return for his junior year of school.
Hendrix started his professional career in Staten Island where he totaled 236 at-bats through 65 games in his rookie year. He carried an average of .229, struck out 65 times, stole 17 bases, and walked 28 times. Hendrix wouldn’t have the best rookie outing, but since then he quietly been one of the most consistent hitters in the Yankees organization.
Hendrix went to Low-A Charleston in 2016 where he would have a spectacular showing and eventually earn a promotion to High-A Tampa. In Charleston he hit for a .299 average, with 16 doubles, 25 RBIs, and 35 walks, he’d go to Tampa and continue his success as a contact hitter. Though his XBHs were cut down some, Hendrix still hit for a .284 average as part of a busy outfield rotation in Tampa.
Hendrix started 20127 in Tampa, and the same story would carry over from the previous season. Tampa had five outfielders, which isn’t necessarily ideal, but Hendrix was still consistent in his hitting and fielding. He would carry a .271 average through 67 games with the Yankees and with it 47 walks, which played a massive part in his progression through this past season.
Hendrix’ hitting wasn’t as consistent like the last two seasons, but he was getting on base more, having a .408 OBP for Tampa. Hendrix eventually was promoted towards the second half of the season where he played 32 games for Double-A Trenton. He was able to get back on track hitting for a .333 average, walk 13 times, and strikeout just 25 times. His OBP in Trenton was .417, and his fielding again was solid despite sharing so much time in the outfield.
Hendrix is not a power hitter by any means; he’s hit three home runs in his three professional seasons. His swing has some tweaking that must be done if he wants to make that a point of his game moving forward, which it must.
His swing is very slashed and slide, which tends to cut off a lot of the power he could transfer to the ball, very much like Clint Frazier in some ways. Hendrix has solid speed, but his base-running is an issue at times with a very upright form.
However, when playing center, he has such great routes on balls that make up for it. By far the biggest issue for Hendrix moving forward is his power. If he can manage to tweak his swing, without hindering his hitting, it can go a long way as he can already hit for average. It starts with his lower half of the body, which tends to be stale on his swing, which is another aspect of why he doesn’t get a lot of drive on the ball often.
Hendrix will most likely start the season in Trenton to work on his swing a bit more, not only for that reason because there isn’t much room for more outfielder in Scranton. Hendrix needs to make a power an aspect of his game before he can move up and indeed succeed and separate himself from the other outfielders in the system. His fielding will be an excellent strong-point for Trenton again through the season.