Tyler Henson: Switching coasts, switching teams

He was drafted by the Orioles out of an Oklahoma high school in the fifth round in 2006. After playing in 622 minor league games with 2,338 at-bats representing the Orioles, Tyler Henson will now find out what it’s like with another team.

Last week, Henson and pitcher Jarret Martin were traded to the Dodgers when the Orioles acquired pitcher Dana Eveland.

Henson was working for the family business when he found out about the deal last Thursday, on the final day of the Winter Meetings.

“I had no clue. I was just actually at work and got a phone call. The Dodgers called me and told me they picked me up. I’m excited and it says they wanted me and I’m ready to get going,” he said.

“It’s going to be different. A lot of new faces and names. Ready to see what the Dodger organization is all about.”

Henson said he got calls wishing him well from several players, including Matt Angle and Caleb Joseph.

Henson, who turns 24 tomorrow, batted .247 with three homers, 36 RBIs and an OPS of .634 in 123 games last summer at Norfolk in his first go-around at the Triple-A level. He was not thrilled with his season.

“You know, it wasn’t very good, I’ll put it that way. I didn’t feel comfortable at the plate,” Henson said. “I went through some changes in spring training that (Orioles hitting coach) Jim Presley wanted me to try. Kind of changed my swing up a little bit. I spent two months with that setup and swing until I finally said I’m going to go back to what I did. I’m putting 2011 behind me now. If I could find a positive from it I felt like I had a very good year defensively.”

Henson is the perfect guy to ask for an opinion about how the Orioles develop their minor league players. He played at every level, from short-season Single-A clubs like Bluefield and Aberdeen to the full season clubs, Single-A Delmarva and Frederick, Double-A Bowie and Norfolk. With the Tides, he played all three outfield positions, but mostly in right field.

“Obviously, I would never want to burn any bridges,” Henson said. “I think there were times I was treated very fairly and in the right way. There were times when I felt a certain way and the organization felt another way. That is just part of it.

“As for my development, everything went pretty well. (Hitting coach) Denny Walling was a great help to me. (Minor league coordinater) Brian Graham was great. All the guys I was around were good and had plenty of input on my game.”

In those six seasons with the organization, Henson’s career numbers show a batting average of .263 with 40 homers, 277 RBIs and an OPS of .709.

He was an Eastern League All-Star with Bowie in 2010, batting .278 with 12 homers, 60 RBIs and a total of 37 doubles that ranked fifth in the league.

Does Henson feel there are any shortcomings in the Orioles’ player development system?

“Honestly, I wouldn’t know. Maybe a year from now I could answer that question easier because I’ll be going to another organization and seeing what they offer and be able to compare it to the Orioles,” he said.

“As I said, everything that was offered to me was good. I learned from a lot of people and coaches. As for their development side, from what I know, it’s good.

“I played with Matt Angle and Zach Britton basically my whole career. Those guys were developed well and made it to the major leagues. In this game, not a whole lot of guys make it. It’s kind of crazy how that works. Those guys are good friends of mine and I’m excited for them.”

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