Scouting Yankees Prospect #9: Ty Hensley

Hensley has been a man on a mission this offseason

The Yankees drafted right-handed pitcher Ty Hensley in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Edmond Santa Fe High School in Oklahoma. Expected to go higher in the draft, his slipping and subsequently less than slot allotment signing has the ultra-talented hurler eager to prove a lot of folks wrong in the coming years.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Ty Hensley
Position: Pitcher
DOB: July 30, 1993
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 230
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Not only were there talks about Hensley going much higher in the first round last year -- some reports had him going as high as number ten overall to the Colorado Rockies -- but when he did finally sign with the Yankees he signed for nearly $400,000 than his selection allotment because a physical revealed an "abnormality" in his throwing shoulder.

"They kind of told me there was some speculation about it and I was really shocked at first because of how well I take care of my arm," he said. "I don't ever do anything to put it in jeopardy. There really hasn't been any lingering effects of it.

"The biggest thing for me to silence any speculation or talk is to go out, perform, and be healthy. That's what I plan on doing this year and I feel like my range of motion and all of that has only gotten better.

"The abnormality in my shoulder is my normal. I'm just built a little bit different than anybody else and that's not necessarily a bad thing."

He signed a bit too late to see any significant action in his debut season last year but still managed to post a 3.00 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Yankees and strike out fourteen batters in twelve innings.

"I have to be honest, I don't feel like I did very well and there's more than one reason for that." he said. "From the time I got drafted through the whole signing ordeal took a lot longer than I anticipated it would.

"It was just a long layover from live competition to throwing bullpens over the summer and then kind of starting that over again. I was probably rusty in those regards and I only got to throw two or three innings at a time.

"It was such a small sample but there's still many changes to be made to my delivery and as far as being smooth."

Not even remotely satisfied with how the latter part of 2012 went for him, Hensley approached his first offseason hell-bent on turning things around in a much more positive fashion as he gets set to enter his first full season in 2013.

"My body fat percentage wasn't bad but it was higher than I wanted it to be so I've dropped about five percent body fat over the offseason," he revealed. "I weighed in at 231 so I feel really strong now.

"I feel good and there's no doubt that I'm going to throw harder because I'm more flexible too. My trainer gets me on the table and he stretches me out head to toe literally before and after our workouts. This is the first year I've been able to work with him full-time so I'm real excited about all of this hard work paying off."

Weighing about the same but in much better shape, even though the Yankees have yet to implement any changes to his game until he gets his feet wet more, Hensley also took it upon himself to really get after it mechanically.

"My father was a pitching coach at Kansas State [University] and he played with the Cardinals organization, and he's been my pitching coach ever since I was a little kid," he said. "The Yankees haven't tried to change me yet, I think they want to see what I look like when I get to Spring Training first.

"They haven't changed me yet but I have the luxury of seeing myself on film and put myself up side to side with pitchers I try to emulate, and that's really helped me this offseason. I've been able to make those changes that are visible and easy to see."

Known for his great fastball-curveball combination, he also wanted to ensure that he would begin his first full season with a more representative changeup.

"Definitely, obviously that's a big pitch," he said. "It's definitely an equalizer. If you can master that pitch there's virtually nobody you can't get out.

"The stuff, that's not going to be a problem for me. It never really has been, it's just a matter of commanding it and having the mental discipline to make the correction pitch to pitch, and not prolonging it and making it two or three pitches to make the adjustment.

"I've been working on the changeup, doing things like throwing a football because when you throw a football you have work on that pronating on your arm. It's more of a natural movement than the supination when you throw a curveball.

"With my changeup, I really feel like with the adjustments I made to my mechanics it's just going to make my changeup better. I really started to get a good feel for it in pro ball [last season]. It should be a good pitch for me this year."

It wasn't just physical changes he went after either. The 19-year old realized quickly that it was time to begin acting like a professional after getting his feet wet in rookie ball last season.

"The hardest adjustment is learning how to live on your own, not so much being homesick or anything like that but just the discipline of eating right and getting the things that you need to get done, and not letting any distractions get in the way.

"I thought this first go-around of the taste of pro ball was a good learning lesson for me to get a taste of some of the things that I will have to deal with as you go through the system.

"This offseason has also been good for me to grow up a little bit. I think I've gotten a little bit smarter and a little more prepared for this next go-around."

Looking to put last year behind him, to label Hensley as excited for his first full season would really be a huge understatement.

"I've been eager for it ever since I got home. I've been a man on a mission since I got home to make sure I would be the best prepared over anybody coming into camp and just really prove that to everybody that I have not only been working hard but I've been working smart, and fix the things that I need to fix.

"With each and everyday that I'm throwing and getting back into the swing of things I just keep getting more and more excited. Words can't really describe it," he concluded.











GCL Yankees








Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Hensley entered the professional ranks with an above average fastball with long-term plus potential, sitting mostly in the 91-93 mph range and topping out around 97 mph. The top level velocity is plus and his sitting range is oh-so close to being that too. He shows good late movement with his fastball too. The command of his fastball is where it could use more work from a consistency standpoint.

Other Pitches. His best pitch his a plus curveball that sits mostly 80-82 mph. A true 12 to 6 breaking ball, it is a knee-bending strikeout pitch that he has excellent command of and he is not afraid to throw it in any count. His changeup was easily his third best pitch when he entered the system and grades out as below average and perhaps borderline average. However, showing good fade and depth, it does have some real long-term potential if he can throw it consistently with more command.

Pitching. Big-bodied and strong, Hensley's game is seemingly all about power -- power fastball, power curveball. However, there is very much a cerebral side to him that probably stems from his upbringing. He has a plan not only on the mound but in the way he attacks his development. He is very coachable, he knows the importance of getting ahead in counts and mixing his pitches, and his makeup is a big-time plus as he essentially begins his career. His biggest obstacle will be fine-tuning the command of his future plus stuff.

Projection. At just 19 years old, Hensley has a lot to learn at the professional level but he already has the basic foundation in place to be a solid big league middle of the rotation type starting pitcher someday - two above average to plus pitches, a third with similar long-term potential, great size and maturity, and the inner fire to be the best. In a lot of ways he projects favorably to former top prospect and current Yankee starter Phil Hughes. Like Hughes had in the minors, Hensley has frontline starting potential but offers the safeness as a middle guy at minimum.

ETA. N/A. Because of his ultra-high ceiling and makeup Hensley could begin the 2013 season anywhere from back in the Gulf Coast League all the way to breaking camp with low-A Charleston depending on how he does in Spring Training. While it doesn't seem likely given his lack of experience, the latter is certainly plausible because of the natural talent.

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

Become an annual subscriber today! Recommended Stories

Up Next


0 Fans online
    Join The Conversation