Breakdown of Michigan SP Tommy Henry

Alec Cohen/The Michigan Daily

Michigan threw 2 starters to get through game 1 and Texas Tech, but talent wise, the Noles will get the Wolverines best pitcher. LHP Tommy Henry will take the hill for Michigan for the 19th time this season. Henry was the 19th college pitcher taken in the 2019 MLB draft, as the Diamondbacks took him 2 spots higher than FSU’s G1 opponent Isaiah Campbell (76) and 3 spots higher than teammate Karl Kauffman (77). In all 3 years at Michigan, the junior has had an ERA in the 3’s and won 20 total games. The lefty is in his second year as a starter, as Henry compiled a 7-3 record in 15 games started last year. This year, Henry started the season as the Wolverines’ Friday night starter, but after some mid-season struggles he was moved to the Saturday spot in the rotation. Henry has worked 106.2 innings this year, with an ERA of 3.54 and 117 strikeouts. Henry’s inconsistencies have come from the inability to stay away from the big hit as he has given up 11 HR’s and 16 2B’s. Henry doesn’t struggle with command, walking 1.94/9, and he keeps the hitters off balance, only allowing a BAA of .230. Henry is similar to Drew Parrish, if he can keep the ball in the park, he’ll put up good numbers on the hill.

The lanky lefty is a polished college pitcher, using a 3-pitch arsenal of a fastball, changeup, and slider. Henry works quick and aggressive on the mound, throwing strikes early and often. Henry actually works more with his off speed than with his fastball. Both righties and lefties will get all 3 pitches in any count. The 6’3, 205 junior can be hard to pick up as he hides the ball behind his hip when he brings it out of his glove before whipping the ball over the top. Henry saw a dip in velocity mid-season, but has been more on top of his game in recent weeks. So far in the postseason, the lefty has given up 7 ER in 21.1 IP for an ERA of 2.99. If Henry is right, it will be another big test for the Noles.

The tall lefty’s FB will come in at 90-92 with not too much movement. Henry mixes his pitches and doesn’t always throw his FB first pitch like most college pitchers. Henry will throw his FB when he is behind in the count or to get the opponent from sitting on his off speed. Often Henry uses the FB to set up his off speed pitches. When Henry goes FB, he usually goes in on RH and away to LH. I’d expect FSU’s RH hitters like Mike Salvatore and JC Flowers to try to get a hold of an inside fastball early in the game to get the Noles going. If you want to hurt Henry, you have to do damage on the fastball when he does throw it. The Noles will need to read fastball and react to off speed so that they don’t miss any cookies over the middle of the plate.

Tommy Henry FB

Henry’s CH is his favorite of the 2 off speed pitches, especially against RH batters. The lefty can have backwards splits against RH vs. LH due to the effectiveness of his changeup. The CH will range from 82-84 and tail down and away to righties. He will throw it early in counts to get ahead or weak contact, and he will throw it when up in the count after an inside fastball to get early swings over the ball for a K. Henry has a professional CH that he has great feel of.

Tommy Henry CH

The junior’s slider is another dynamic off speed pitch that he loves to use. Henry will not use the slider as often or as early in the count as the changeup, but he loves it when up in the count. Henry’s slider can start on the outside corner and end up back foot to righties, while the ball will start at a lefty’s hip and paint the outside corner. The slider puts Henry over the top because even if batters are sitting on the CH, they can’t get to the slider because of the movement. The pitch will range from 81-84 with movement the width of home plate.

Tommy Henry SL

FSU can expect to see a ton of off speed pitches on Monday night, but they need to take advantage of the fastballs. I’d expect the Noles to have an approach of waste the off speed and foul it off until you get a fastball to work with. FSU’s righties may try to get the bat head out and get to the inside fastball early in the game while the lefties will likely have an opposite field approach at the plate. The Noles are once again getting a top level pitcher, but they’re running out a guy who’s even better with a bulldog mentality. I’d expect FSU to come out with tons of energy with Van Eyk on the mound and maybe get to the lanky lefty early.

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