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Tommy Henry Sees Uptick In Velocity



Lefthander Tommy Henry’s fluctuations in velocity during his junior year at Michigan might have played a part in him lasting until the second round of the 2019 draft.

But there is good news out of the D-backs’ alternate site this summer. Henry’s velocity is up—and staying that way.

The 23-year-old, who went 12-5, 3.27 with 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 2019 at Michigan, has sat in the 93 mph range with his fastball and reached back for 95 when needed, holding that velocity through five-inning outings, according to assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye.

It is an encouraging sign for the 6-foot-3, 205-pound southpaw, who at times in 2019 saw his average fastball drop into the upper 80s—according to evaluators.

“I think that there were a few things mechanically that I emphasized in the offseason, along with long-tossing and weighted balls,” Henry said. “I tried to take advantage of the resources I have back home with school and the Diamondbacks and trying to utilize those to be as good as I can be."

He said he's getting better at incorporating his lower half in his delivery, finding a way to streamline his mechanics while maintaining his athleticism. He thinks that last year he was being both “too mechanical” and “too fine,” which he thinks explains the dip.

Henry said he still has work to do. His changeup has been a focus, and he said its become his favorite pitch to throw. He thinks his ability to improve that pitch is vital.

“I’m no hitter . . . but if you had to ask me, a well-executed changeup is probably the hardest pitch to hit in baseball,” he said.

Henry also has worked to utilize his slider in other ways. He said in the past he had been able to throw it for strikes and to bury it, but this year he has been working on using it as a backdoor pitch.

“I’m surrounded by really good coaches here,” Henry said. “I’ve had an opportunity to learn more about kind of how baseball becomes chess and not checkers at this level.”

SNAKE BITES

— Outfielder Kristian Robinson was added to the club’s 60-man player pool in mid August. Robinson already had access to Salt River Fields but now is able to work out and play games with the rest of the alternate site group.

“After the first day of his timing being a little off, it seems like he’s starting to hit the ball pretty hard,” Sawdaye said. “He’s still only 19 and hasn’t faced a ton of this type of pitching.”

— The D-backs’ rotation depth has taken a considerable hit since the start of spring training. Righthander Jon Duplantier is not expected to pitch this year after dealing with elbow discomfort in April. Righthander Corbin Martin had been working his way back from Tommy John surgery but suffered a strained left oblique in August. And righthander Jeremy Beasley made his major league debut in relief but then quickly landed on the injured list with a right shoulder strain. All three likely are done for the year.

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