Should Blue Jays Target Tyler Henson?


On Wednesday, I looped out the idea of the Blue Jays going after minor league free agent Tommy Field as a possible solution to Toronto’s revolving door problem at second baseman. Well I am going to loop another guy which I like a little less than Field, but thought was still worth a look at.

C-. <p class=. 2B. Free Agent. TYLER HENSON

Tyler Henson is a player that presents the Blue Jays with some interesting options. He is listed as a second baseman, but has spent considerable amounts of time patrolling the outfield. In 2014, as member of the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Tyler played 41 games in RF, 12 in CF, 16 in LF, 45 at second, 7 at thrid and 4 at short. This versatility would provide manager John Gibbons a valuable bat off the bench if he wasn’t able to win a starting job and would allow Gibby some flexibility when setting up his line ups.

When looking at Tyler’s stats, the first issue that jumps off the page are his high strike out totals. As a member of the IronPigs, Tyler struck out an astounding 130 times, good for a 27.1 K%. Normally I would stay away from players that have huge splits between their walks and strike outs, but there is something about Henson that interests me.

Henson has the legs to turn singles into doubles, it’s this speed that’s allowed him to stay out of the double play. Last season Tyler grounded into 3 double plays in  426 plate appearances, Fangraphs has his speed graded at 6.3. He’s a good base runner and has good instincts and knows when to pick his spots, successfully stealing 19 of 25 bases.

Tyler’s no slouch with the bat either. As an O’s prospect he ranked as high as Baltimore’s 19th best prospect in 2008. He was twice rated as Baltimore’s Best Athlete in 2007 and 2008. He’s always produced decent ISO numbers throughout his career and 2014 was no different. Tyler’s peripheral stats looked pretty good: .143 ISO, .336 wOBA, and an OPS of .747. If Henson mixed in the odd take here and there, it would vastly improve his OPS and he could consistently reach .900 OPS.

Tyler Henson’s 2014 Stats

Looking at his stats above, it’s safe to say that Henson would be good for a hit and strike out per game, but the most likely outcome is Tyler taking the walk of shame back to the dugout. When contact is made, Tyler is likely to hit the ball on the ground, up the middle. His ability to stay out of the DB and to hit the ball on the ground and up the middle is what intrigues me. With the turf being known to speed up ground balls, a guy that hits so many ground balls up the middle should be able to collected a couple more hits a year. These extra base hits would do wonders for the batting average.

Disclaimer time: I don’t claim to think that Tyler Henson will do an about face and  turn into Robinson Cano or even Ryan Roberts for that matter, but if we could get a Joe Inglett year or two out him that would be good enough for me.