With their first round selection (#30 overall) in the 2012 draft, the Yankees selected high school right-hander Ty Hensley. He’s only the third high school pitcher they’ve drafted in the true first round (not supplemental first round) over the last 18 years, joining Phil Hughes (2004) and Gerrit Cole (2008). Slot money for this pick is $1.6M.
An Oklahoma kid from Santa Fe High School outside of Oklahoma City, Hensley’s father Mike pitched for three years in the minors after being selected in the second round of the 1988 draft by the Cardinals. Mike was also a long-time pitching coach at Kansas State, so Ty has grown up around the game. Hensley played quarterback for his high school before giving up football to focus on baseball as a senior. He’s committed to Mississippi.
Oklahoma has a history of producing physically huge pitchers — Josh Johnson, Brad Penny, Braden Looper, and Jamey Wright most recently — and Hensley fits the bill at 6-foot-5 and 220 lbs. He sat in the 92-95 range with his fastball this spring and ran it as high as 97 at times, backing it up with a sharp overhand curve he throws in the upper-70s. His changeup shows promise but like most high schoolers, he hasn’t needed it and the pitch needs work. Hensley has a high leg kick and is deliberate with his delivery, which sometimes leads to command issues. As I mentioned when I first wrote him up as a potential target in March, his makeup and coachability are pluses. He also speaks Spanish, apparently.
It won’t matter as a pro, but I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Hensley is a switch-hitter with some pop in his bat. Ole Miss will allow him to both pitch and hit, but he’s a much better pro prospect on the mound. Here’s his MLB.com draft video.
The various scouting publications all considered Hensley a back-half of the first round/early-sandwich round talent in their most recent rankings…
- Kevin Goldstein: 19th best prospect overall and ninth best pitcher (subs. req’d)
- Baseball America: 23rd best prospect overall and 11th best pitcher
- MLB.com: 26th best prospect overall and 13th best pitcher
- Keith Law: 36th best pitcher overall and 19th best pitcher (subs. req’d)
Damon Oppenheimer’s Take
Here’s what the Yankees’ scouting director said in a statement following the announcement of the pick, courtesy of Bryan Hoch…
“We’re excited to get a guy with such a high ceiling. He has the ideal body for a high school pitcher, as well as power stuff, and has the ability to be a high-end starter. He’s demonstrated a quality makeup and has shown himself to be a hard worker, which makes him a quality pick for us.”
Over the last week or two we’ve heard that the Yankees were targeting various prep arms, but Hensley was one of the few names not said to be on their radar. That’s probably not an accident; he was likely high on their board and they didn’t want it to be known. Oppenheimer usually emphasizes polish when it comes to pitching prospects, but this time he leaned towards upside and got a guy with a big fastball and more importantly, an out-pitch breaking ball. The Yankees love their big pitchers and again, Hensley fits right in. There’s a lot to like about this pick and the biggest thing to watch going forward is his command. If Hensley cleans up his delivery and is able to throw strikes consistently, he has a chance to be an above-average workhorse starter who misses bats and eats innings.