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 most six of his seven minor league seasons in the Orioles ranks before being traded to the Dodgers in a trade 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.