Hayden Shenefield
Hayden Shenefield throws a pitch for the CSUN Matadors (Samuel Ware/CSUN Athletics)

Pitcher Hayden Shenefield goes from Reddit to Reds Organization

Athletes all around the world have tried in many peculiar ways to obtain a spot on a professional roster. In baseball especially, there’s a ton of competition. Cincinnati Red prospect pitcher Hayden Shenefield took the unorthodox route of promoting himself on the social media platform Reddit. It paid off in more ways than he could’ve imagined.

It all started when the right-hander went unsigned out of Cal State Northridge. Nobody really batted an eye at him when he played in the independent Frontier League and American Association. He didn’t really help himself out either, posting a 6.84 earned run average combined in both leagues.

Then it all changed for him in 2020. During the pandemic, Hayden Shenefield played with the All-American Baseball Challenge league’s New Jersey Jackals. He began to show what he could do on the mound and exceeded many expectations. His earned run average dipped down to 1.74 in 11 appearances. Yet still, it still didn’t amount to a spot on a Major League Baseball affiliated team roster. Yet.

In May of this year, Shenefield noticed that Kyle Boddy, the director of pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, was having an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. Hayden realized he had absolutely nothing to lose as an unsigned free agent. He decided to see if Boddy would take a chance on him. Not long after, the 26-year-old was given the opportunity.

He made his affiliated pro debut on June 12, 2021, for the Daytona Tortugas. How’d he do? Well, he went three and a third scoreless innings out of the pen, striking out four and walking none. He also only gave up two hits in the process. It will be interesting to see what comes of this young pitcher’s career.

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