Yankees’ 10th-round pick dominates in first start with Hudson Valley Renegades

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The draft record for the Yankees has been excellent in recent years, most of whom have seen their professional careers begin with the Hudson Valley Renegades From Will Warren to Chase Hampton, the pitching side of the ball has become their specialty, something that third-rounder Kyle Carr noted on Media Day when he talked about his excitement about being picked by an organization like the Yankees. Brian Hendry hopes to join the long list of later-round picks that New York has converted into quality prospects, and his first professional start was a glimpse into that future.

Mixing in a fastball-slider-curveball-changeup mix, the 24-year-old showed off some of the skills that got him drafted in the first place, and he could be a name to watch as his velocity has begun to creep up with the Yankees.

Hudson Valley Renegades Get Strong Debut From Brian Hendry

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Coming out of Oklahoma State University, Brian Hendry is one of the older players selected in the draft, as he’s already 24 years old. He had to undergo Tommy John Surgery while in college, and in the hope of boosting his draft stock, he stayed a bit longer at OSU to show that his stuff was still all the way there. The four-seamer sits around 91-95 MPH, topping out at 97.9 MPH last season, although when he came into Tampa for instructs after being drafted, he reportedly hit 100 MPH.

Despite what people are saying in the recent trend of arm injuries, velocity does play a huge role in your ability to get outs, as throwing harder while maintaining your pitch shape can result in more success. Hendry possesses a four-seam fastball with about 17 inches of Induced Vertical Break and good natural run, giving it plenty of movement and life up in the strike zone for swings and misses, pairing it with a nasty slider and curveball as well with sharp dropping action that can pick up outs with ease.

We also saw him mix in some changeups, but overall the arsenal is based heavily around the fastball-slider combination, and he overpowered the Rome Emperors across his five-inning debut.

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The slider and curveball play even better from an over-the-top delivery, as it allows him to get a steeper release angle and fool hitters with a pitch that falls off of the table. He picked up a whopping 19 whiffs in the outing, with a Whiff Rate of 52.8%, an impressive mark for your first pro start. There are command issues, and some speculate if that will lead to a transition to the bullpen, but if he can continue to rack up strikeouts at the rate he did yesterday, then we could see Brian Hendry as a mainstay in the Double-A rotation by the summertime.

What the Yankees do so well with pitchers is getting them to develop velocity and focus on the pitches that they throw best, and Brian Hendry is already seeing those progressions take shape. His high-velocity fastball and good feel for two different breaking balls could make him a weapon is he can work on the command, and this strong first start is only going to continue to boost his confidence as he continues to develop.

He got strikeouts on four different pitches, and that comfort using his entire arsenal while also flashing a fastball that has good velocity and shape is extremely exciting. Another strong early sign was he generated a high groundball rate (62.5%), which could be because of the 10-11 inches of arm-side run he can get on his heater as well. It’s a diverse arsenal with plenty of movement profiles, and he’s a name fans should keep an eye on during the MiLB season.

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