School: Rice University
Selected 2010 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (NR): This was a tough one for me because I'm a big Tyler Henley fan. It is just I think that time is running out on the former Rice Owl. He had Tommy John surgery in July so he probably won't be ready for the start of spring training and he will turn 26 in June and has only 88 at bats above Double-A.
I ranked "Psycho-T" number 16 on my list last season after being the only panelist to rank him the previous two winters. Henley has a smooth line drive stroke and the ability to hit the ball to all fields. He's a solid average defender that has the ability to play all three outfield positions. At this point, the best case scenario is to project him as a fourth or fifth outfielder and a bat off the bench .
Henley's descent to the big leagues has been derailed by injuries. The elbow injury ended his 2010 season in July. He managed to stay healthy in 2009 but lost time due to a wrist injury in 2008. With a great work ethic and a fantastic attitude, I expect him to bounce back quickly. But knowing his injury history, for how long?
Message board community (36): Tyler Henley clocked in at 36 this year for the community after being ranked 21st last year. Health was the big issue. He was an 8th round pick in 2007, and he climbed quickly - Batavia and Quad Cities in 2007, Palm Beach in 2008, Springfield in 2009. And at that last stop, he posted a .367 OBP, .482 SLG.
Then in spring training he seemed to catch some eyes at the major league level, and he started out at Memphis. But he had elbow problems and managed an OPS of just .551 in about 100 AB's. After rehab, he posted an OPS of .997 at Springfield in around 60 AB's, suggesting that problems were behind him.
But then he hurt his elbow again and was lost for the season in June, the month he turned 25. He had Tommy John surgery in July. If he can recover from the TJ surgery and pick up where he left off, he could be a late season callup next year and have quite an impact going forward. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (31): Coming off a strong performance against elite pitching in the 2009 Arizona Fall League helped push me off the fence about Henley. I had been concerned due to the sheer number of moderate-sized, corner-oriented, fourth-outfielder types at the higher levels of the system against whom Henley directly competes.
Initially, I felt very good about ranking Henley at the end of my personal top 20 last year at this time. He came into major league camp as a non-roster invitee and went 8-for-21 including three doubles. The left-handed hitter drew four walks and fanned just three times. His spring slash line was .381/.480/.524.
As Gagliano noted above, elbow problems led to what became a step downward, back to Double-A, and ultimately a lost summer of 2010. On an encouraging note, position players generally can return more quickly from Tommy John than the year typically quoted for pitchers. Henley's surgery was in July, so perhaps if his recovery goes well, he can pick up early in the 2011 season where he left off. My ranking indicates cautious optimism.
Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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