Randy Henry was the Orioles 4th round selection in the 2009 MLB Draft, but his stay in the Orioles organization didn’t last long.
Henry was dealt to the Rangers in a trade for Taylor Teagarden in December, and has since been used as a starter after pitching strictly as a reliever for the Orioles. His transition to becoming a starter has been an easy one so far, evidenced by his 2.37 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 30.1 innings.
In an interview last week, Henry and I discussed who alerted him of the trade, the transition from the bullpen to the rotation, his improving changeup, and more.
Jordan Tuwiner: Who alerted you that you were traded? What went through your mind the moment you were traded?
Randy Henry: Actually, you were the first person who told me I was traded. [Laughs]. You sent me that text message. When you sent me that text I was working out. I also had a few missed calls from Stockstill and some Twitter messages. I got all of those at once because I was working out. So, yeah, I found out on Twitter and by you telling me. I was in pretty big shock but the first thing that went through my mind was who did I get traded to? I knew I had been traded but no one told me who. Then I called John [Stockstill] back and he told me I was traded to the Rangers. Being from Oklahoma that was the team I grew up watching so I was really excited.
JT: The Rangers had you in the bullpen but now have you as a starter. You last pitched as a starter in high school but since Junior College you have been a reliever. How has the transition been for you?
RH: It’s a different mind set. It’s definitely a different pace. You’re not coming out and giving it your all for just one or two innings. Since I’ve been with the Rangers I’d throw a few innings out of the pen at once so I had been worked into it. It’s a lot different pitching in the bullpen. The workout programs are different; that’s a big difference. The 5 day rotation is also different. It’s nice being able to know when I’m going to throw — that way I know everything that’s going on. That part of is nice but pitching is pitching. I’ve had to use my off speed pitches more and use my fastball more effectively. From a pitching standpoint I’ve had to use my change up more and move my fastball in and out.
JT: I’d imagine your changeup has improved a lot since you’ve been using it more as a starter?
RH: Yeah I think so. We work on that in my bullpens a lot. Using my curveball and change up is a big thing. It’s definitely something that’s getting a lot better.
JT: Do you still throw just a slider?
RH: I throw both now. I’ve been throwing both.
JT: I remember when Orioles drafted you they had you working with just the slider.
RH: I’ve been throwing both since I came to the Rangers. They want me throwing both.
JT: You have a really solid combination of stuff — a sinker, velocity, command, and good secondary stuff. What is your approach when you take the mound?
RH: Really, movement is natural for me and the velocity is natural. With my pitching I just try to throw the ball where I want to. If I throw the ball where I want to I know every thing else is going to go my way. Since I’ve moved to the rotation I’ve really gotten to work on my mechanics more. Something I’ve really been working on more since I’ve been starting is watching people swing and watching how they react to my pitches. Then I have a scouting report on them and can use that to my advantage.
JT: If you were to throw a 100 pitch start, how many of each pitch would you throw on average?
RH: I would probably say 60 fastballs, 20 sliders, 5 curveballs, 5 cutters, and 10 change ups.
JT: I didn’t realize you were throwing a cutter, too.
RH: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been throwing out of the bullpen that’s made me really successful.
JT: You’re a guy that gets ground balls at a pretty good rate. Is that something you feel is important? What have you been taught about the importance of ground balls? Is that something that is stressed by coaches?
RH: Anytime you’re getting ground balls you’re keeping people from getting the ball in the air. You can eliminate home runs, doubles, and extra base hits. Pitching down. If you have a runner on first base it’s going to help you get double plays. I’ve just been working on hard on keeping the ball down.
JT: What do you consider your biggest strength?
RH: I would say my biggest strength is just competitiveness.