The newly twenty-four-year-old Fort Worth, Texas native Sean Michael Henn is a sturdy, six-foot-five lefty who was drafted by the Yankees not once, but twice, in the 30th round of the 1999 amateur draft and the 26th round of the 2000 draft. The Yanks finally signed him to a record $1.701 million bonus as a draft-and-follow in 2001 (he attended McLennan Community College in Texas in the interim). According to an informative post over at Off the Façade, at the time Henn was drafted, "He sported an upper-90s fastball along with some nasty breaking pitches," but did not throw a pitch as a Yankee farmhand before having to undergo Tommy John surgery later in 2001.
Henn finally got to take the mound as a professional ballplayer in 2003, when he made two dominant rookie league appearances before moving on to make sixteen starts for single-A Tampa, in which he had moderate success. Last year, Henn made a brief appearance in spring training with the big club before spending the entire season with double-A Trenton, posting a 4.41 ERA, a 1.44 WHIP and an equally middling 1.87 K/BB ratio (6.50 K/9 and 3.47 BB/9, both slight improvements over his single-A numbers) in 27 starts. This year, he again spent the spring with the major league club before returning to Trenton, where he has posted the following line in four starts:
25.1 IP, 16 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 9 BB, 21 K
That translates into the following rate stats: 7.46 K/9, 3.19 BB/9, 2.33 K/BB, all of which show a continuation of the improvements he made in those categories in 2004. Those improvements would support the suggestion that Henn is still rebuilding his arm strength coming off his 2001 surgery. Of course they could also suggest that Henn is simply improving as a pitcher. As it stands, he's not a dominating prospect, but a pitcher with potential who's a bit old for double-A (though that's the fault of the surgery). With that in mind, as much as I'd love to see Henn pitch well enough to allow the Yankees send Kevin Brown to the DL or Tampa to work out his problems, I'd much rather see Henn return to the minors, work his way to Columbus this season and throw his hat into the ring for next year's rotation, if not 2007's.