Milwaukee Brewers Top Prospects List: #13 C Payton Henry
By David Gasper
Continuing our list of the Milwaukee Brewers top prospects heading into 2019, after taking a look at pitchers Cody Ponce and Marcos Diplan, we’ve reached the first position player on our list.
Catcher Payton Henry is quickly turning himself into one of the more exciting young backstops in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system. The system has been largely devoid of top catching prospects for years.
The Crew still doesn’t have a set catcher of the future. The big league club signed Yasmani Grandal to a one year contract, giving 23 year old Jacob Nottingham another year of development to find his offensive groove. Henry, if he can continue to make more progress, could end up establishing himself as that catcher of the future.
#13 C Payton Henry
Drafted in the sixth round out of high school in 2016, Henry was given a very large signing bonus to pry him away from his college commitment to BYU.
In 2018, Henry spent the entire season up in Appleton with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He posted a .234/.327/.380 slash line with 15 doubles, 10 home runs, 41 RBIs, and 38 walks in just 98 games.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is, he struck out 124 times in 337 at-bats, which comes out to a 36.8% strikeout rate. That’s not exactly ideal.
But Henry is a strong defender with a cannon for an arm and possesses plenty of power. He’s just 21 years old, so there’s still plenty of development ahead of him. Scouts are high on his power ability and believe he’ll able to make the necessary adjustments to his approach at the plate to tap into his power and his ability to hit for average more as he develops.
Henry knows how to draw walks, and his OBP was nearly 100 points higher than his batting average. It’s just a matter of cutting down on those strikeouts and making more contact on pitches in the zone.
When Could We See Henry In Milwaukee?
After spending all of last year in Low-A Wisconsin, Henry is likely to spend 2019 with the High-A Carolina Mudcats.
If we assume a one-level-per-year development plan, his first full season in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform would be in 2022. However, when he reaches Triple-A or even Double-A, one injury at the big league level and he could be called up.
Henry should be close to big league ready in 2021, and could see time as a September call-up that year, since most teams bring up a third catcher during the stretch run.
If his bat takes a few more steps forward, we could possibly see him sometime in 2020, but he still has a lot of development to do and is quite young still. There’s no reason to rush Henry to the big leagues. He has a bright future, it’s just a little further away than some other prospects, but that doesn’t make it any less bright.
The Milwaukee Brewers have catching depth in the upper minors and in the big leagues. But the most exciting backstop they have could be the one spending his 2019 in Zebulon, North Carolina.