Phillies Prospect #20: C.J. Henry

C.J. Henry is a former first round pick of the Yankees, but hasn't shown the potential that everybody thought he had. Possibly, a move to third base will help get the young infielder on track.

The Phillies thought enough of C.J. Henry that they wanted him included in the Bobby Abreu deal with the Yankees and the Yankees thought enough of him that they weren't enamored at the thought of including him. In the end, Henry came to the Phillies and has worked to fit his way into the organization. This season though, he's going to be adjusting to another change when he moves to third base. The move started in the Florida Instructional League and the Phillies believe that it may help Henry to find a spot where he'll fit better defensively and possibly find a new home.

One of the biggest question marks surrounding Henry is where his power has gone. The Yankees thought he would develop into a power hitter and in fact, just a year ago, listed Henry as the third best power prospect in the Yankees' organization.

C.J. Henry's career stats

'05 GCL Yankees 3 17 .249 48 181 32 45 9 3 17 17 39 .333
'06 Charleston (A) 2 33 .240 77 275 35 66 19 3 14 32 86 .330
'06 Lakewood 1 16 .253 25 91 13 23 3 4 1 7 25 .313
TOTALS 6 66 .245 150 547 80 134 31 10 32 56 150 .328

Acquired: Drafted by the Yankees in the first round (17th overall pick) of the 2005 Draft. Was traded to the Phillies along with Carlos Monasterios, Jesus Sanchez and Matt Smith for Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle.

Batting and Power: As mentioned, Henry is supposed to be a power-hitting infielder, but hasn't shown the power that has been expected of him. "Henry has the power potential to be an annual 20+ home run hitter at the minor league level and his power potential at the Major League level has many scouts comparing him to many of the elite players in the game," wrote in March of last year. One concern is that Henry hasn't developed the muscle mass that many thought he would and is still sort of lanky at 6' 3" and 205 pounds. Otherwise, Henry has been average at the plate and the Phillies worked with him on improving his plate discipline and knowledge of the strike zone. He can do much better in most facets of his offense.

Baserunning and Speed: Henry has impressive speed and the potential to steal 30 or more bases per season. The only thing holding him back is that he hasn't gotten on base enough to take advantage of his speed. His 80% success rate in stolen bases is a testament to both his natural speed and his knowledge on how to steal bases, something that a lot of young players simply don't get.

Defense: Ouch! Henry was barely able to handle himself at shortstop and lacks the range and instincts to play at short. Moving him out of the position was pretty much a necessity and the Phillies are hoping that he can handle the duties at third base. His reactions are just average and he'll need to improve on his mechanics to put himself in a better position to make plays from third base. It's not out of the question that the Phillies could consider yet another move to the outfield at some point down the road. They would like to keep him on the infield, but it remains to be seen how patient they'll be with that plan.

Projection: The jury really is still out on C.J. Henry. There is a lot to work on, but keep in mind that the Yankees drafted him out of high school and he is still just 20 years old. As a young player, he's had a lot of adjustments to make and a lot of things to adapt to and it takes some young players some time to simply fit in and find themselves. Don't give up on this kid just yet. It's going to be interesting to see whether the Phillies push him along to Clearwater or keep him at Lakewood, but it's likely that he'll start out at Clearwater. Look for Henry to start to show that he was a big part of the Bobby Abreu deal and that both the Yankees and Phillies weren't wrong about him.


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