Diamondbacks Prospect Profile: SP Bryan Henry

Diamondbacks Prospect Profile: SP Bryan Henry

The Arizona Diamondbacks nabbed right-hander Bryan Henry in the 12th round of the 2007 draft. His college numbers were phenomenal, and his professional debut began well, but Henry just missed making the FutureBacks Top 50.

Vitals:

Name: Bryan Henry
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB:02/15/1985
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 205 lbs
B/T: R/R

History: Bryan Henry was a a three-time All-ACC first team selection with the Florida State Seminoles, going 32-9 with a 2.60 ERA over that three-year span.  If that fails to impress, consider that Henry went 9-0 in 10 ACC starts with Florida State last year.

So why doesn't Henry crack our Top 50 list, then?  Well, he came very, very close.  When players get drafted as seniors, they often get labeled as being too old to be considered a top prospect.  Sometimes this is fair, sometimes not.  In Henry's case, he could have avoided this scrutiny by pitching particularly well in his professional debut.

He started off very well indeed.  In fact, the Missoula Osprey began the season 8-12, but they were 4-0 in games started by Henry.  The ex-Seminole went 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA through five starts and 4-0 with a 3.69 ERA through his first six.  The rest of the way, Henry went 1-3 with a 7.18 ERA.

Henry had gone well beyond his previous career high in innings pitched by that point, making some decline unsurprising.  He needed to exceed expectations, however, not just meet them, to be considered an elite prospect at this early stage in his career.  Some questionable usage in college could have contributed to that dead arm period late in the season.


"One weekend I'd throw 130 [pitches], the next I'd throw 80," Henry told us matter-of-factly.  "Whatever the team needed."

Despite the inconsistent workload in college and the stigma of being too old for his league last year, Henry himself valued the extra time he spent at Florida State.

"I learned so much about pitching - the mental part of it," explained Henry the day after his draft selection. "All the hitters are extremely good, and each one has a different strength and a different weakness. I know going into the next level that every hitter's going to be that much better, and I'm going to work that much harder to stay on top of my game."  

Pitches: 

Henry is a classic four-pitch hurler: fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup.  None of his pitches will blow a scout away, but none of them ranks as a weakness or something that he really needs to work to improve.

"I like them all, to tell you the truth," Henry told us when we asked him which of the four was his best pitch.  "And I like using them in different situations." 

Indeed, Henry is a typical Diamondbacks selection in the Josh Byrnes era: a coachable, intelligent pitcher who could advance through the system quickly without blowing up any radar guns.  Though you might not know that from his strikeout totals at Florida State, where he averaged about one strikeout per inning. 

"I'm more of a control guy.  The strikeouts came from just being able to get ahead of the hitters, then getting them to chase my pitches," explained Henry.  "I don't throw particularly hard.  I'm not a power guy."

Major League Clone: Josh Fogg 

Prediction: Henry's stuff may not play that well at higher levels.  He will likely have to go through a phase where he learns to tempt hitters with offerings just off the corners, because major league hitters will jump on most anything he leaves over the middle of the plate.  If he can indeed get into batters' heads consistently and pitch away from contact without increasing his walk total too much, Henry would make an excellent back-of-the-rotation starter.    

ETA:  Already possessing more pitching knowledge than the average prospect going into his first full pro season, Henry could well advance at a healthy clip.  He should begin the year at South Bend, and at age 23, he might really dominate the Midwest League.  Henry seems to understand what his strengths and his limitations are. That wisdom could be what vaults Henry up the system and on to next year's Top 50 list.  

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