New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects
By Josh Boyd
1. Drew Henson, 3b
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 222. Drafted: HSBrighton, Mich., 1998 (3rd round). Signed by:Dick Groch.
Background:Henson was unhappy after the Yankees traded him to the Reds in a four-player package for Denny Neagle in July 2000, shortly after he wouldnt commit full-time to baseball. He appeared to be leaning closer to football, where his future was just as bright as it is in baseball. After he passed for 2,146 yards and 18 touchdowns at Michigan in 2000, football experts projected him as No. 1 pick material for the 2002 NFL draft. Henson favored baseball but wanted to be a Yankee, so the Reds dealt him back to New York, along with outfielder Michael Coleman, for outfielder Wily Mo Pena and $1.9 million in March. Henson signed a six-year, $17 million major league contract and left the gridiron for good after the trade. Five games into last season, a pitch broke his left wrist and sidelined him for two months.
Strengths:Henson has special power potential. His raw power rates near 80 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, and he has launched mammoth, 500-foot blasts since he was a high school freshman. He established the national high school record for home runs. Hes a unique physical specimen, with unusual athleticism for his size. Hes not ready to play third base in the majors yet but has the tools to be an above-average defender. He has plus-plus arm strength and soft hands.
Weaknesses:Henson lost valuable experience by splitting his time between two sports, and it shows most in his pitch recognition and plate discipline. He should improve with a full season of at-bats. The Yankees rushed Henson to Triple-A last year, and he would have been better served spending a full year in Double-A. The holes in his swing were exposed as he struck out once every three at-bats during the regular season and in the Arizona Fall League.
The Future:Hensons .314-6-33 performance in the AFL spurred speculation he was ready to take over for Scott Brosius. The Yankees put an end to that by trading for Robin Ventura, but Henson remains the third baseman of the future. Henson has a chance to be a franchise player because his work ethic and intelligence are as outstanding as his talent.
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