06/05/12 7:20 PM ET
First-rounder Hensley honored to be Yankee
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Hensley, 18, said that he intends to sign with the Yankees quickly and forgo a college commitment to Mississippi so he can begin his professional career, hoping that he can make it to the Major Leagues within three years.
"It kind of seems like a dream still," Hensley said. "It doesn't even seem real yet. It probably won't until I go to New York to take my physical. It's a day I've been dreaming about for a long time."
Hensley was 10-0 with a 1.52 ERA in 11 games as a senior at Edmond Santa Fe (Okla.) High School, racking up 111 strikeouts in just 55 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound hurler was named the 2012 Gatorade Oklahoma "Baseball Player of the Year."
Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia texted Hensley after calling his name on Monday at the Draft, and manager Joe Girardi called the hurler to congratulate him on Tuesday.
"I think the quicker that I can get started and get on to A-ball next year, I think the better," Hensley said. "I'm set up with a great organization, and I can't go wrong."
Hensley has been said to top out around 94 mph with his fastball and owns a 12-to-6 curveball that the right-hander says is his best pitch, while also continuing to hone a developing changeup as he hopes to rise to the big leagues quickly.
"My goal is definitely to be there by the time I'm 21 years old, which would have been my junior year in college," Hensley said. "I think it's realistic. I know I have a long ways to go, but I'm definitely not going to stop working until I get there and after that."
Hensley said that he grew up modeling himself after Roger Clemens but added he has been watching a lot of Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay lately. He said that if he were to scout himself, one of his best attributes might be an aptitude for learning quickly.
"I'm able to make adjustments on the fly and to learn from pitch to pitch and not let it carry over," Hensley said. "I need to work on refining my command, my mechanics, which will come with time and repetition. That's what I need to work on. I feel confident in all my pitches."
That no doubt has something to do with his professional bloodlines; Hensley's father, Mike, was a second-round pick in the 1988 Draft and played in the St. Louis Cardinals' Minor League system from 1988-90 before beginning a coaching career at Kansas State University.
"Having a father who's been through it before, I'm really blessed and been lucky to have that," Hensley said. "He helped me all the way up to this point. I don't know where I'd be without him. I'm just so thankful that he's my father."