In our Stealth Bomber series, we talk to players in the farm system who aren't yet on the New York radar, but hope one day to be so.
With their first round pick in the 2012 draft, the Yankees selected 6'4" pitcher Ty Hensley out of Santa Fe High School in Edmond, Okla. While he has yet to officially sign, higher-ups like Mark Newman are jazzed up about his abilities. We brought Ty into the dojo of NoMaas' Sensei John Kreese, where the two discussed his pitch repertoire, his musical tastes, how he immediately learned not to compliment anything about the Red Sox, and much more.
Sensei John Kreese: Have you officially signed yet?
Ty Hensley: No, we are still in negotiations.
SJK: At what point did you know the Yankees were interested in you? What was that process like?
TH: The Yankees were at all of my starts this season, so I had a pretty good idea that they were interested. The process while you are playing is simple...just go do your thing and everything falls into place. I really didn't worry about it all that much.
SJK: Heading into the draft, did you have a sense the Yankees were selecting you?
TH: I knew that if for some reason I was still on the board that I was a player in the mix for them, yes.
SJK: For those of us who have never and will never be drafted into a professional sports league, what was draft day like for you?
TH: Exciting. It felt like it was happening to someone else most of the day. It wasn't until late that night that I really allowed myself to take in what just happened. I was honored to be a part of something so special.
SJK: Tell us about the repertoire. Where do you sit on the fastball, and tell us about the curveball that people often cite as your best pitch.
TH: Two-seamer, 93-95. Four-seamer, 93-95. Curveball is a 12-6 downer that when it's on is completely unfair to hitters.
SJK: How long have you been throwing your change-up, and how do you hold the pitch?
TH: I have been throwing my circle change off and on since I started pitching. I really didn't need it much in high school, but the last year or so, I knew I needed to work on it and make it a solid offering as I moved into the next phase of my career in order to project as a starter at the major league level.
SJK: Ideal world, tell us your plan is. I've read that you want to hit the bigs by age 21.
TH: That's the plan...and it's definitely ideal!
SJK: On the conference call, you said you needed to improve your command and mechanics. Anything specific about either one that you can point to?
TH: Pitching is a domino effect. When command is off, that is the end result of something else. For me, getting into my lower half and extending my stride has allowed me to get better at repeating an effective delivery and I will continue to work on those things.
TH: I would not have had the results I have had without his knowledge and patience along the way. When I was about 9, I kept telling him "I know, I know" when he would try to help me. One day he said "Well since you have it all figured out, you let me know when you want my help."
My Dad and I are both pretty stubborn. It took about a year and a half for me to come back and tell him I wasn't as smart as I thought I was. He has been my mentor ever since.
SJK: I assume once you sign, the Yankees will give you the tour of Yankee Stadium and you'll meet the players? Have you been to New York City before?
TH: We have talked about that and I am looking forward to it! Of all the ballparks I have been to, I have never been to Yankee Stadium, but I have been to NY and I loved it! We did pretty much all the touristy things that we could do in two days: Ellis Island, Tavern on the Green, and the Empire State building. The Yankees weren't in town while we were there. That was in 2002 and we stayed in a hotel in the Financial district. The area was still devastated by the 9/11 tragedy and I won't ever forget that.
SJK: How do you feel about leaving your days of hitting behind?
TH: When that really sinks in, I will be sad, really sad. I love changing the outcome of a game offensively. It's the closest thing to feeling the way I did when I ran it into the end zone on Friday nights.
SJK: What are you going to do with your old bats?
TH: Most are going to go to my brother J.R. (Jacob Ryan...mom named him after some guy in Sixteen Candles). He is a going to be a sophomore, is a lefty, is taller than me, and can flat out mash. A couple of them I am going to save for my kids.
SJK: Your favorite baseball team before you were taken by the Yankees? It's ok, we won't hold it against you (unless it's Boston).
TH: No it wasn't Boston, although I got blasted the other day on Twitter when I said I wanted to play there. I only want to pitch there because it's the only major league park my Dad played in and one of the two legendary parks left. I pitched at Wrigley this summer during the Under-Amour All-American game, so you can see why I would want to pitch at Fenway. It's about all the others that stood on that mound before me and to be part of that history would be amazing.
My favorite team was the Atlanta Braves, with Chipper Jones being my favorite player.
SJK: Your warming up on the mound at Yankee Stadium...what song is playing?
TH: "Party in the USA"...why not? It would be good for a laugh, but more appropriate would be "Till I Collapse" by Eminem. That was my song this year and I loved it.
SJK: Finish this lyric: Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain, And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet...
TH: When the wind comes right behind the rain...hey I'm no Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Many thanks to Ty for chatting with NoMaas. One thing is certain about this kid...he is ready to go. And we are ready to see the curveball that, "when it's on is completely unfair to hitters." Gotta love it. Best of luck to Ty and we wish him all the best as he begins his Yankee career.