Henley was clearly wanted by the organization as his reported $150,000 signing bonus was the second-highest amount given to any eighth-rounder. Only the New York Yankees' pick, outfielder Taylor Grote, received more.
In 2007 for the Owls, the now 22-year-old posted a .313/.429/.458 line (AVG/OBP/SLG) and he and his 56-14 team competed in the NCAA College World Series in Omaha for the second consecutive season.
A year ago, Henley led Conference-USA in runs (74), doubles (26), triples (7) and total bases (156) and following his sophomore season, the left-hander was selected by the Houston Astros in the 50th round of the draft. He competed in the Cape Cod League over that summer, finishing second in the wooden-bat league in slugging percentage at .552.
In his initial action as a professional with Batavia after signing in late July, the 5-foot-10, 200 pound Henley has been impressive. In his first 49 at-bats, the Muckdogs' leadoff man and centerfielder has posted a .306/.426/.347 line (BA/OBP/SLG).
Watching him play last week, two parts of Henley's game stood out to me. First, he has very good plate discipline, refusing to bite on offerings not in his zone. Second, Henley is a polished defender, making very good reads on balls in centerfield and demonstrating a strong arm.
I believe that had Henley signed in June, he would either have been named a New York-Penn League All-Star as three of his Batavia mates were, or he would already be a member of the Swing of the Quad Cities, the next stop up the Cardinals minor league chain.
In this exclusive interview, Tyler Henley discusses his transition from college to professional, including his negotiation process, his experience, mental preparation and what he hopes to accomplish in his career.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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