In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Prospect Retrospect: Drew Henson
Name: Drew Daniel Henson
Position: 3B
Vitals: 6'5", 222 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Born: February 13, 1980
Hometown: San Diego, California
Drafted: 3rd round (97th overall) in 1998 (Yankees 4th selection)

Background: A member of the 1998 All-USA baseball team in high school, Henson held national career records in RBIs (290), runs (250), grand slams (10), and homeruns (70 - since broken by current Mariners farmhand Jeff Clement). One of the most physically talented people on the planet, Henson spent his time after being drafted playing pro ball while attending the University of Michigan, where he quarterbacked the Wolverines to a share of the Big-10 title in 2000. A legitimate NFL prospect with Heisman trophy aspirations and first overall pick potential, Henson agreed to a $17M offer to play for the Yankees full-time in March of 2001 after initially declaring he'd return to Michigan for his senior season. Despite the contract, Henson was taken in the 6th round (192nd overall) in the 2003 NFL draft by the Houston Texans, yet he persisted that he was committed to baseball.

Strengths: Power, power, and more power. Henson's raw power was measured on the Ruthian scale, and not until Brandon Wood circa 2005 did a prospect flash as much slugging potential. Henson was a supreme athlete who had the work ethic, leadership abilities and off-the-field attitude that every club dreams of having in it's star player. Henson was a complete package, the definition of a franchise player.

Weaknesses: A less than stellar defender, to say Henson was decent at the hot corner would be a compliment. He made inconsistent contact as his .252 career minor league batting average would suggest. Henson's biggest problem was that he was too talented. The prospect of playing professional football always surrounded him, and the expectations that accompanied the $17M deal were extremely high and (unfairly) exaggerated by the media.

Stats: Henson's raw ability surely did not go unnoticed, as he was deemed the 9th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2002 season, ahead of notable big leaguers Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, Carl Crawford, Carlos Zambrano and Victor Martinez. However, Henson's abilities were far superior to his actual performance, as fans and experts routinely cited that 169 of Henson's 400 career minor league hits went for extra bases (42.3%), failing to acknowledge that 499 of his 1587 minor league ABs ended with either strike three or a double play (31.4%).

1998GCL Yankees381230129-3.316.844
2000Tampa 21720117-1.333.935
Chattanooga (CIN)6411801925-4.172.565

What Happened? Aaron f'in Boone happened. With their patience wearing thin, the Yankees unofficially pulled the plug on Henson's Yankee career by trading for the former Red and future one-time great Yankee (emphasis on one-time) third basemen in July 2003. The following winter Boone suffered a severe knee injury playing basketball that ending his 2004 season before it even started, creating a vacancy at third base. Despite the opening, Henson never received serious consideration for the job as the Yankees acquired Mike Lamb to plug the hole less than a week later. Henson all but saw his Yankee career come to end on February 16, 2004 when the Yankees acquired perennial All-Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who had agreed to shift to the hot corner.

Less than a month later, Henson's rights were traded by the Texans to the Cowboys, at which point Henson ended his baseball career by signing an 8-year contract with the Cowboys. After the deal was signed, Yankees GM Brian Cashman had this to say: "Michigan, the Yankees and the Cowboys. That's a pretty talented athlete to be with those teams...I'm happy for him. He was in a position where he had some control of his situation. He's with a good organization and good coach (Bill Parcells)."
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