HT: 6-1 WT: 190 POS: SS/3B
Aberdeen Ironbirds- (73 G, 273 AB, .275/.338/.425)
When the Orioles took Tyler Henson in the 5th round of the 2006 draft, they suspected that he would be a bit of a project. His athleticism, however - Henson led his high school football team to a state championship at QB - made him a reasonable risk. He rewarded the Orioles this season by converting his tools into skills earlier than they could have foreseen, staying competitive against college competition.
Henson offers a little bit5 of everything on offense. His most developed tool is his plus speed, which he used to rack up the second most steals in Ironbirds history (behind Matt Angle). He also showed a much improved approach and good bat speed, leading some scouts to project more power from him in the future. He'll never contend for batting titles, but Henson should be good for ~.260-.280 batting averages at higher levels.
Henson is actually more effective against right-handers - a problem that will will probably dissipate with more exposure to good left-handers. He also faded a bit in his first full season in the organization, which is not uncommon for high school draftees unfamiliar with the rigors of professional ball.
Henson looks like one of the new breed of large offense-first shortstops, but he's not likely to stay at the position. He lack first-step quickness and, despite his strong arm, had a problem with consistent throws to first base. He'll probably stay at shortstop next season, with some time at third base mixed in. He has the athleticism to stick at the hot corner, but will require lots of reps. The next stop, should he fail to stick at third base, would likely be centerfield.
Henson surprised the Orioles by adapting so quickly to the competition in the New York-Penn League, but he's still a ways off. He'll spend most, if not all, of 2008 in low-A Delmarva. He has the tools to emerge as a potential major league regular.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com