Jim Callis of Baseball America released a Top 100 Prospect All-Bust Team today and among the biggest busts was former Yankee prospect Drew Henson.
Henson was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1998 amateur draft. He would have gone higher but there were legit concerns that Henson would elect to play football over signing a baseball contract. From ’98 until 2000 Henson put up decent numbers in the rookie ball and high-A, but he was splitting his time as the backup quarterback to Tom Brady at the University of Michigan.
He became a starter at Michigan in 2000 when Brady graduated and, after struggling, the Yankees traded him mid-season to Cincinnati (for Denny Neagle) only to reacquire (this time the Yankees sent Wily Mo Pena to Cincinnati) him after the season. That was also the season that his minor league numbers started to take a dive. His strikeout totals couldn’t be helped and he struggled in the field.
Despite his struggles, or perhaps because of them, the Yankees promoted Henson to the Bronx in 2002.It was a way to encourage him as he didn’t exactly have an easy go of it in with the Columbus Clippers as locals despised the struggling third baseman who had played quarterback for area rival University of Michigan and booed him loudly.
Things didn’t get better for Henson in 2003 and the player who was just supposed to be a stopgap until he was ready, Aaron Boone, hurt his leg and the Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez. With his path to the majors blocked Henson announced his retirement and went back to football.
Callis said of Henson:
Might have been a star if he hadn’t lost so many ABs to football.
It’s hard to tell if that is true or not. One thing that is certain that at one point Henson looked like he would end up being a huge impact player, but ended up fizzing out.