(Courtesy of Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman)
Full disclosure, I don't really follow the MLB Draft at all. There's always enough going on in Yankeeland for me to talk/write about, and I can cover that a helluva lot better than I can the draft. I don't start getting too into prospects until I know they're a part of the organization, and there are already plenty of guys out there who are way more knowledgeable about the draft than me, so I just leave that heavy lifting to them.
That being said, I did stay awake last night long enough to see who the Yankees chose with the 30th pick in the 1st round and gather a little intel on the kid, and word around the cooler is that the Yankees got themselves a damn fine pick at 30. So without further ado, please give a warm welcome to Mr. Ty Hensley.
Hensley is a right-handed high school pitcher out of Oklahoma. He went 10-0 for the Edmond Santa Fe Wolves this past season with a 1.52 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 55.1 IP, earning himself the 2012 Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year Award for the state of Oklahoma in the process.
Hensley is the first HS pitcher the Yankees have selected in the 1st round since Gerrit Cole in 2008, and the Yanks will attempt to make him the first 1st-round HS pitcher that they sign since Phil Hughes in '04. He's a big kid at 6'5"/220, and what makes him such an enticing potential prospect is his stuff. He throws a fastball that lives at 92-95, and can be run up to the high-90s, and complements that with a plus overhand curveball. He has the makings of a changeup, but hasn't had to throw it much in HS so it still needs work before it can be considered a truly useful pitch at the pro level.
As is typical with bigger, younger pitchers, Hensley can struggle at times with his delivery and repeating his mechanics. But a big guy with a lively heater and a swing-and-miss curve for an out pitch is great value to get at the end of the 1st round, and most pre-draft rankings had Hensley ranked anywhere from 18th-25th on their boards. This tweet from prospect guru Kevin Goldstein last night says it all:
Hensley's value with the new draft slotting system is $1.6 mil and I have to think the Yankees are going to try to lock him up quickly and get him into one of the short-season leagues. He's a young pitcher with a lot of tools, and the sooner they can start working with him on refining his mechanics and improving his command and changeup, the better off he's going to be. It's too early for me to say what type of pitcher I think he can become, but Hensley is a true high-ceiling starter with a chance to sneak into the last 10 of the next AB4AR Top 30 if he signs.
For more on Hensley, you can check out Mike Axisa's writeup on him over at RAB, which has some YouTube video of Hensley. You can also check out TYA draft guru EJ Fagan's take on Hensley here.