If you blinked during today’s Spring exhibition, you may have missed Tyler Henson‘s pinch hit appearance for Michael Young. Henson, 25, is an infielder-turned-outfielder who has settled into right field. Henson spent six of his seven minor league seasons in the Orioles ranks before being traded to the Dodgers for Dana Eveland and, at one time, possessed the potential to be a .260/.340/.400 with 20 home runs and 20 steals player with good defense. Unfortunately, Henson may never become that player in the Major Leagues, but this is a very solid pick-up for the Phillies that provides depth and a talent that may have some time and potential to grow.
Henson’s biggest strengths are his defensive versatility and his above-averageness in most tools, including power and speed. He fits best at a corner outfield position but plays a strong enough second base to fake it there with third base being a defensive weakness. Henson flirted with a .400 SLG% for most of his time in the Minors until 2011, when he believes tinkering with his swing led to a drop in production. His biggest weakness is striking out: Henson averaged 126 strikeouts per year from 2008-2011. That being said, Henson has a strong batting eye: in 2012, battling injuries, Henson posted a near-career high 37 walks in just 299 PA.
For much of his time in the Minors, Henson was considered a Top 20 Orioles prospect at a time when they had many. Henson is in, a lot of ways, a poor man’s Ryan Sweeney at a time when Ryan Sweeney is a much discussed and sometimes wanted commodity among Phillies fans. Don’t expect Henson to put up Sweeney-level numbers, or even see time with the Phillies, this year, but he will be a very intriguing name to follow throughout the year.