As you may or may not know, the New York Yankees agreed about a week ago with first-round draft pick Ty Hensley on a one-year contract with a $1.2 million signing bonus. Hensley pitched for Edmond Santa Fe High School and was just drafted in June. From what scouts have seen from Hensley, the kid has nothing but positives about him. At 18, Hensley definitely has time to adapt to the Yankee way of baseball, but when he is up here, how much will he affect the team? Will it be positive or negative? All these questions and more will not be answered for awhile. For now, Hensley finds himself pitching in the minors, but has set himself a goal to be pitching in the majors by 21. Let’s see if he can do that.
For the Yankees, pitching has been the name of the game, especially this season. Looking towards the future however is a different story. Even going into next year, there is the possibility of having both Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda not on the 2013 roster. Beyond that, the Yankees have younger talent in David Phelps, Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell who have all had some exposure to the majors leagues.
The pitchers that are in the minors currently, such as Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and now Hensley have yet to prove their worth. Betances did make his debut last September, but his name has been far from the discussion for a role in majors and was in fact demoted to Double-A last month. Hensley has what I would call healthy competition with guys like Banuelos and Betances. By setting a goal of being in the majors by 21, Hensley is mentally trying to prepare himself. However, take a look at Banuelos and his struggles. He is 21 and thought to be one of the Yankees’ best prospects, but finds himself struggling in Triple-A.
As for Hensley, the story may be different. Hensley is a right-handed pitcher and doesn’t offer anything overbearing, but then again, that’s to be expected coming directly out of high school. Hensley is 6’5″, weighing 220 pounds which reminds me a lot of Phil Hughes. Not only that, but even Hensley’s wind-up reminds me a bit of Hughes’.
Based on his scouting report, Hensley’s fastball has some sinking action to it, but it has only topped off in the low 90′s. The 12-to-6 breaking ball that he throws has been scouted as his best pitch. His breaking ball apparently has fooled a lot of hitters as he can throw it for a strike consistently. Hensley also offers a change-up, but as of now, there’s nothing too spectacular about it. The Yankees definitely have a lot time to work with Hensley, and possibly mold him into a strikeout pitcher. One thing that does concern me is the abnormality found in his pitching shoulder by doctors prior to being signed. It was enough of an issue for the Yankees that they were able to reduce his signing bonus from $1.6 million to $1.2 million. Hensley contends he has never had pain in his throwing shoulder, but this is something the Yankees will monitor closely.
In his senior year of high school, Hensley put up some impressive numbers. In 11 appearances, Hensley was 10-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 111 strikeouts all inside of 55.1 innings pitched. I understand it was high school baseball, but his strikeout ratio was absolutely through the roof. His breaking ball adds a lot to his arsenal and it clearly is evident as to how.
So, the question remains the same, what can Hensley bring to the Yankees? Well, it depends on when we see him in a role that doesn’t have him going between Triple-A and the majors constantly. By the time he finds a permanent role in the majors, it may be around 2016, or even late 2015. Hopefully, CC Sabathia will still be a dominant pitcher, and will help out the younger guys. In addition, I hope the Yankees will have retained Ivan Nova and Hughes and maybe we’ll even see a mix of Banuelos, Phelps, Warren, Betances and Hensley fighting for some starting spots. There’s even the possibility that the Yankees could sign a free agent or two if any of our younger pitchers don’t pan out. It’s a lot of speculation until then, but the Yankees like what they saw from Hensley, and hope their draft pick will not go to waste.