White Sox draft RHP Lincoln Henzman in 4th round

With their 4th round pick (117th overall), the White Sox selected right-hander Lincoln Henzman out of Louisville. He was the team’s closer this year as a junior, but he started in the Cape Cod League and the Sox announced him as a starting pitcher.

School: Louisville
Position: RHP
Height/Weight: 6-2, 200 lbs
B/T: R/R
D.O.B: 7/4/1995
Previously Drafted: 31st round last year by Seattle as a draft-eligible sophomore

2017 Stats: 1.77 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 5.1 H/9, 2.3 BB/9, 9.1 K/9 in 25 games (35.2 IP)

Born on the Fourth of July and with a name like Lincoln, it should be no surprise Mr. Henzman was named an All American this year. The righty was the team’s closer, following in the footsteps of last year’s White Sox 2nd round pick, Zack Burdi. In that role he greatly improved upon his iffy sophomore campaign (4.50 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, double the H/9 rate).

Interestingly, he spent his 2016 summer in the Cape Cod League, working as a starter. And it appears the Sox see him as just that. A 2013 Tommy John surgery survivor (junior in high school at that time), Henzman started just two games during his three years at Louisville, both in his freshman year. In that 2016 summer wood bat league season, his core numbers weren’t great (5.40 ERA), but he did strike out more than a batter per inning there and kept the walks at bay in five starts and two relief appearances.

This has the look of a potential under-slot signing, given the risk involved in the profile and the likelihood of moving to a relief role. The fact that the club took a higher-ranked prospect in the following round (RHP Tyler Johnson, in the 5th) adds smoke.

Here are a couple clips from scouting reports, first from Baseball America (full report is behind the paywall, this is a quoted part of it), who ranked him the No. 151 draft prospect:

“Henzman succeeds largely because of a repeatable delivery and a lively fastball. Henzman’s 89-95 mph fastball avoids the sweet spot as he sinks it and generates ground balls. He doesn’t really have a true out pitch, but his average slider and average changeup both also generate weak contact. His changeup has an almost split action to it as it reaches the plate and his slider shows sharp, slurvy bite with mid-80s velocity.”

And here from MLB Pipeline, who ranked him #162:

“When Henzman keeps his 90-95 mph fastball down in the zone, it’s almost impossible for hitters to lift. His changeup has similar action, behaving like a splitter, and grades as a plus pitch at times. His cutter climbs into the upper 80s and is an effective third offering. Henzman blitzes the bottom of the strike zone and has permitted just one homer in three college seasons… He has enough pitches to work out of the rotation, though he’d have to prove he could maintain his velocity with a heavier workload.”

And here is the scouting video from MLB.com:

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