Tyler Henson, the fifth round pick of the Orioles in the 2006 draft, came out of high school rough and unpolished. In his professional debut, his flaws were exposed in rookie-level Blufield. He struggled to a .230 batting average, striking out in nearly a third of his plate appearances.
"The toughest part was seeing different pitches," Tyler told Inside The Warehouse. "Out of high school, you don't see pitches at 92-94 [MPH] a lot, and good breaking stuff. For me, it's just getting more AB's and I'll be fine."
"I wouldn't say I‘m all the way there but I'm getting close [to adjusting to wood bats]. The more AB's I take I'll feel more comfortable."
Henson appears to have a short learning curve. Against college age competition this season, Aberdeen's shortstop has hit .321 through his first 15 games.
"Well, I spent a lot of time in my off-season on my hitting. I mean, I've had a solid glove ever since I've been growing up, the glove is fine," Tyler told ITW. "I'm just playing on me heels sometimes, and sometimes I'm not. Once I get out of that mode, I'll be fine."
Henson's plus arm strength and athleticism have allowed managers to be creative about his defensive positioning.
"Last year I played third, second, short; I played it all."
The former high school quarterback also talked about his experiences at extended spring training and what he wanted to do in front of the coaches.
"Pretty much just playing every day; just getting better. That's pretty much what extended is."
"From instructional league [to now], it's been a tremendous change."
Tyler was not the only one to recognize his improvements. The coaching staff in Aberdeen isn't shy about praising the potential five tool talent.
"He's got to improve on all of [his game]. He's 19 years old, you know," quipped Ironbirds Manager Andy Etchebarren. "[Tyler's] got good tools, he loves baseball, he loves to play, he soaks up everything you teach him."
The tools are there for Tyler Henson to exceed at the next level but, for him, it's just a matter of time.
"Just keep doing what I'm doing. I need to play solid defense a little more, but it will come. Just grind out every day and I'll make a move soon, hopefully."
The modest Tyler Henson recognizes his need to get improve, but Etch was able to sum up his feelings very clearly.
"For me, the best compliment you can give anybody that's on that field is to say ‘I think that kids going to be a very good baseball player,' and that's what I think he's going to be."
Questions? Comments? Send them to Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com