The New York Yankees are usually involved in MLB rumors for different reasons this time of year but right now it is very much up in the air whether or not they will be able to sign their first-round draft pick, pitcher Ty Hensley. According to Hensley via Twitter, no decision has been made and it looks like it will come down to the 5 PM deadline on Friday.
Shortly after being drafted, Hensley made some bold predictions about getting to the Major Leagues by the age of 21. However, he seems to have backed off of his enthusiasm, possibly because his agent began to advise him otherwise. The Yankees, for their part, can only offer Hensley up to $1,815,910 without having to surrender their first round pick next year. The suggested slot for Hensley by Major League Baseball is $1.6 million.
If Hensley were to sign for $1,815,910 it would be among the largest signing bonuses ever handed out by the New York Yankees. However, we do not know if that was the offer so this is pure speculation. Hensley, from Sante Fe high School in Oklahoma, has an offer to attend Ole Miss that he will no doubt be using in negotiations.
The Yankees were recently burned by another high school pitcher when they selected Gerrit Cole in the 2008 with the 28th overall pick. Cole chose to attend UCLA and was the number one pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Perhaps Hensley sees that and dreams of a bigger payday. However, getting picked number one overall these days with the new collective bargaining agreement doesn’t mean it will be a huge increase in dollars. You also have to factor in the fact that he would be playing for the New York Yankees, one of the richest organizations in baseball who rarely get outbid for players. If he makes it to the Major Leagues, and he is as good as advertised, do you really think another team would pay him more than the Yankees? I don’t.
After the initial enthusiasm Hensley displayed upon being drafted by the Yankees I think he will eventually sign. According to multiple sources, the negotiations between the two sides are complete. Everything hinges upon whether or not Hensley chooses the Yankees or college.
Hensley is a big kid at 6-5, 220 pounds with a very good fastball that sits 91-95 but has been clocked as high as 97, and has a plus 12-6 curveball that sits in the 70’s and will surely improve over time. He also has a decent, for a high school pitcher, changeup that will need work. Heading into the draft he ranked in the top 40 of almost every ranking out there and ranked in the top 20 as a pitcher. He was a pretty good hitter in high school but his real future is on the mound.
The Yankees would love to get Hensley to sign on the bottom line and judging by Hensley’s initial enthusiasm, he would like to as well. The decision is now in his hands but I think he signs on the dotted line before the deadline at 5 PM on Friday. Then the real question will become, will he make it to the Majors by age 21?