Name: Hayden Senger
Weight: 210 lbs.
Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft, 24th Round (Miami University of Ohio)
Hayden Senger was a standout athlete at Lakota East High School. In addition to lettering four times in baseball, he lettered three times in football. After graduating, he attended Miami University of Ohio, making the Redhawks’ baseball team as their starting catcher. In 2016, his first year there, he hit .269/.336/.431 with 5 home runs, 1 stolen base in 3 attempts, and an 8:17 walk:strikeout ratio. He played for the Lakeshore Chinooks in the Northwoods League that summer and then returned to Miami University of Ohio for his second season, where he suffered a sophomore slump. In 41 games, the backstop hit .172/.281/.242 with 2 home runs, 1 stolen base in as many attempts, and a 13:30 walk:strikeout ratio. He played for the Cincinnati Steam of the Greak Lakes Collegiate League that summer but bounced back this time after the season ended. In his junior year, he hit a career-best .344/.429/.511 in 48 games with 3 home runs, 8 stolen bases in 14 games, and an even 19:19 walk:strikeout ratio. With their 24-round selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Senger, signing him to a $125,000 bonus, the highest allowable sum a post-tenth round draftee can receive without the sum being counted against a team’s draft bonus pool.
The Mets assigned the catcher to the Kingsport Mets following his addition to the organization and he spent roughly a month there from mid-June to mid-July, going 14-35 in 10 games. He was promoted to Brooklyn following his brief stop in the Appalachian League and went 17-68 in 22 games there, giving him a .301/.411/.417 batting line on the season with 1 home run and a 13:31 walk:strikeout ratio in 32 games. The 22-year-old was promoted to the Low-A Columbia Fireflies for the 2019 season and he spent the entire season there, hitting .230/.324/.345 in 90 games, slugging 4 home runs, drawing 25 walks, and striking out 64 times. He would have likely been assigned to the High-A St. Lucie Mets in 2020, but the season never took place, as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Minor League Baseball to cancel the season. When the 2021 season began, he was indeed assigned to the Mets’ High-A team, but this time he went back to Brooklyn, as Cyclones became the Mets’ High-A affiliate in the revamped Minor League System. He spent roughly a month there, going 13-43 in 11 games with 8 extra base hits, and was promoted to the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies for the remainder of the season. In 50 games with the Ponies, the 24-year-old Senger hit .254/.337/.387 with 3 home runs and a 16:62 walk:strikeout ratio.
Senger stands tall and open at the plate, holding his hands high and wrapping his bat behind his head. He swings with a moderate leg kick and has a long-levered swing. He flashes average raw power in batting practice but has yet to really tap into that during in-game situations thanks to his swing and occasional difficulties staying balanced and keeping his lower and upper halves in sync. He uses the entire field, spraying groundballs and flyballs to all fields with almost equal percentages.
While his offense is still developing, Senger shines behind the plate. Thanks to quick, above-average pop times, he can get out of the crouch during stolen attempts quickly, cleanly transfer the ball, and fire to the waiting fielder accurately. Despite an arm that is only average-to-above-average, he threw out 18 of 38 runners that tried to steal on him in 2021 and has a 35% caught stealing rate for his career as a professional. He is a solid receiver, blocking and framing the ball well, though there is a noticeable difference between his ability to block and frame balls for right-handers and his ability to do the same for southpaws, something Senger needs to work on.