Yankees: Ty Hensley on Track for 2017 Return After Two Lost Seasons

Former New York Yankees first rounder Ty Hensley is scheduled to return to game action next spring after missing the last two seasons to injury.

Once seen as one of the New York Yankees elite pitching prospects, 23-year-old Ty Hensley has seen his career completely derailed by one injury after another since the club took him in the first round (30th overall) in the 2012 June amateur draft.

One of the top high school arms of that draft class, Hensley eventually signed for an under-slot $1.2 million signing bonus (down from the initial $1.6 million agreement) after “an abnormality” in his right shoulder was discovered.

Hensley made five appearances for the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate as an 18-year-old, allowing four earned runs in 12 innings (3.00 ERA) while striking out 24.6% of the batters he faced and walking 12.3%.

After missing all of the 2013 season following surgery to repair the labrums in both of his hips, Hensley had the closest thing he’s had to a normal, full season of work in 2014. He split the year between the GCL and short-season Staten Island, pitching to a 2.97 ERA in 30.1 combined between the two levels, striking out an impressive 30.3% of opposing hitters while issuing free passes to 11.3% of them.

That winter, Hensley suffered multiple jaw fractures during an assault that took place in the home of a mutual friend near the young pitcher’s Oklahoma City home. Things only got worse from there. After Hensley felt tightness in his forearm during a spring training appearance, team doctors discovered the righthander required surgery, and he had Tommy John for the first time in April 2015.

Hensley had been ranked the Yankees 20th best prospect entering that season by Baseball America. Here’s an excerpt from their scouting report at the time:

Hensley’s fastball, which touched 96-97 mph before the draft, was back up to 96 in the New York-Penn League. He pitched closer to 90-93 mph but showed he had a little extra in the tank when needed. He also found the handle on his previous out-pitch, a 12-to-6 hook in the mid-70’s that reached an above-average spin rate of 2,900 revolutions per minute according to TrackMan readings.

The rehab process seemed to begin going fine until this spring, when Hensley’s arm became swollen and painful during a simulated game. An examination by the famed Dr. James Andrews revealed that the original graft hadn’t been successful, and the procedure would need to be performed again. He went under the knife for the second time on April 26th.

Six months later, and Hensley is beginning a throwing program that puts him on track to return to the mound in January, and hopefully game action in April according to Patrick Teale of Pinstripes Plus. Hensley recently told Teale that he feels much better than he did at this point in the process last time around and is encouraged by the progress he’s made.

Everything is going really well. As hard as I worked last time I put that much extra into it this time. It’s still a long process but if you told me six and half months ago that this is where I’d be I would take it. I’ll be honest, it’s been frustrating not having my elbow cooperating but if I get this rectified, which I feel very good about and the people who have worked on it feel very good about, I’ve got no doubt that I’ll be just fine.

While the team shouldn’t be counting too heavily on a guy who has pitched 42.1 innings in five years, it would be nice to see Hensley’s story have a happy ending. The guy has been through a lot and never given up on his dream. It would be fun to see him get back on the mound and see what he can do.

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