2005 Draft Preview: SS, C.J. Henry

It won't be long until Draft Day 2005 and PinstripesPlus.com will be covering it every step of the way, including previews and exclusives. Now, let's take a look at our latest preview as we scout draft prospect, C.J. Henry.

Vital Statistics
Name: C.J. Henry
DOB: May 31, 1986
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Putnam City, Oklahoma

More so than ever before, there is not one clear cut, easy pick for the New York Yankees at the 17th spot in the draft. In fact, it is one of those years where the organization simply has to let the draft come to them. In other words, they have to look for the standout player that makes it too difficult to pass on him. So far this year, C.J. Henry is looking more and more like that player. Prior to this year, he was well known among scouts as a toolsy player, with high selection possibilities. However, he has now cemented himself as a 1st round pick with an outstanding showing at Putnam City High School here in 2005.

More and more, teams are becoming less stubborn about their types of picks in the draft, possibly with the exception of the Oakland Athletics. With that being said, it plays right into the hand of C.J. Henry. By comparison to last year's draft, the depth of high school arms is incredibly slim so more teams will be looking to nab the most talented player available rather than just aiming for arms.

Perhaps the only thing that worried some teams about pursuing Henry early on in the draft was his two sport stardom. Also highly touted as a college basketball recruit, there was some concern in the scouting world that Henry was going to pursue a career in college basketball. But, even though he has committed to play at Kansas as a Jayhawk, according to Henry and his family, basketball will not come ahead of baseball. "My first focus and primary goal is to play major league baseball. If something doesn't work out with this year's draft, I will be going to school, either this next year or sometime down the line," C.J. told NewsOK.com. On the other hand, the shortstop is more than confident that being picked early won't be a problem. "I expect to be taken high because I have that ability. It has been proven that I have that ability," Henry explained to the local newspaper. "I love to play baseball. I think I am a baseball player who plays basketball well."

Now, with baseball as his undisputed focus, scouts no longer have the fear of dealing with possibly having him turn away from them at the last second and turning towards basketball. But, as a very level headed, intelligent young man, the Oklahoma native understands that nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to the draft. "It's better just to have everything lined up," said the five tool shortstop. " Anything can happen in the draft." Anything can happen in the draft, but one of the most likely things of all to happen is for Henry to find himself selected in the middle of the first round. The word is that he could be looking for a Lastings Milledge type of bonus, which means he could be looking for over 2 million dollars. However, the Yankees, among other teams have done a lot of research on this draft stud, only to find that not only are his skills worth the investment, but his makeup and personality are as well. Not to mention, he put up monstrous numbers at Putnam City High School in his senior year, this year. Henry batted .481 with 13 home runs, 41 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 106 at bats.

Off the field, you can't find a much better young man than C.J. Henry. Not only as far as scouts are concerned, but just for the everyday person, this 18 year old has a plus personality and makeup. He has handled himself in a mature manner leading up to the draft, making clear statements to scouts that his focus is on baseball and nowhere else. But, besides baseball, Henry does his part in the community off the diamond as well. The 18 year old participates in a Leadership Mentor Program, a program dedicated to helping the health and welfare of the community. So, as most scouts have already taken note of, C.J. Henry is not only a great investment for his baseball skills but for his superb personality traits as well.


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Putnam City









Batting and Power. Most scouts can come to a consensus in saying that C.J. Henry is a big time five tool player. But, the most important thing they love about this exciting star is his offensive ability. His bat is his best plus tool. Henry has already shown flashes of huge power, bashing 13 long balls this year in high school, but he is widely considered to have much more power on the way. Not only is he a plus power hitter but just a plus hitter in general. He has the potential to be a .300 hitter in the big leagues someday with his smooth, effortless, yet power producing stoke. C.J. also has decent patience at the plate and knows how to pick out a pitch and drive it to any part of the park. This 18 year old, Oklahoma native has the look of a special hitter, someone who is capable of hitting .300 with 30+ home run type power.

Base running and Speed. At this point in time, C.J. Henry is a plus, above average base runner and has tremendous, explosive speed. Some scouts believe that he will not always be as blazing fast as he is now, as his body matures, but either way, his speed will always be one of his best attributes. With that in mind, most organizations that are interested in Henry see him as an outfielder more so than a shortstop. Henry is also a base stealer or the future. C.J. is also one of the most athletic players in the country.

Defense. Right now, C.J. Henry is a shortstop, but there is a lot of doubt that he will actually remain there. More than likely, whoever picks him up in this year's draft will pick him as an outfielder, where he can better utilize his speed and get away from a position that could potentially pose problems for him at the pro level. For now, he could profile as a center fielder, but for the long run, he looks like a rangy, strong armed right fielder.

Projection. The more you look at what C.J. Henry brings to the table, the more desirable he looks for a team like the Yankees. He takes a page out of the book of Derek Jeter with his natural leadership skills, take charge type of approach, inner confidence and swagger that he has. You put all that together and you have a big game player. If his tools continue to develop the way they have, whoever drafts this young man could have a special player on their hands.

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