6’1 - 175
T - R
Despite only throwing 60 ⅓ professional innings since being drafted in 2020, Tink Hence has soared up prospect ratings. He closed last season as the Cardinals 10th best prospect on MLBPipeline.com which is more than reasonable seeing as he only pitched 8 innings in 2021. Although the right hander has absolutely dominated A ball this season. He has started 16 games, thrown 52 ⅓ innings to the tune of 1.38 ERA to go along with 15 walks and 81 strikeouts. With so few professional innings thrown as well as the fact he does not turn 21 until the middle of next season it is going to be interesting to see how the Cardinals progress with him in 2023.
Strengths- Hence has two overpowering pitches in his fastball and curveball. Those two pitches project to be true outpitches as he continues to refine both their command and control.
Weaknesses- Hence often does not know where the pitch is going, and often he misses his location badly. His delivery puts a lot of stress on the arm as he has a very long arm swing. A combination like that does make it difficult to envision Hence not dealing with elbow or arm troubles down the road. He does have a lot of moving parts in his delivery which could cause mechanical problems in starts.
Command/control- Hence struggles to hit his spot with any consistency. All three of his pitches are often overthrown to where they leak too far to the glove side. Outer third pitches end up down and out etc. His fastball command is inconsistent, he spotted more frequently when it was thrown at a lower velocity. It is safe to wonder if for the time being it makes sense for him to lessen the velocity on his fastball until he figures out how to command it properly. Hence’s curveball has poor command, it often ends up belt high or higher or is a true noncompetitive pitch. His changeup consistently is located arm side properly. The former second rounder can throw all three pitches for strikes. His curveball is thrown almost exclusively in the zone rather than being buried out of it. The fastball is thrown for a strike with some regularity, although he misses with it in the zone at times. Hence’s changeup can be thrown for a strike as well.
Overall stuff- Hence’s fastball is a pitch that has the potential to be plus plus down the road. It features some arm side run to it with slight sinking action at times. It currently ranges from 94-98 but as he continues to seamline his mechanics as well as adding muscle, he should be able to get it up to 97-100. His curveball has more sweep to it than downward action and looks sliderish at times. It will become a pitch that generates whiffs as he continues to work on commanding the pitch. His changeup tunnels really well with the fastball as both come out of the same slot and hold the plane for a long time.
The changeup does not move a great deal although with how well it plays off of his fastball it will become a strong third offering down the road. I do believe Hence should add a fourth pitch such as a cutter, so he has an additional pitch running in on a lefty and something hard moving away from a righty. Although, with starters going through the lineup three times it is becoming less and less important for a starter to feature a fourth offering.
Overall thoughts- I think Hence has the stuff to become a front of the line starting pitcher on a team competing for a World Series. His fastball curveball combination is good enough to where he only needs average control on both offerings. The key for Hence is going to be improving both his control and command as I have both presently graded at 35’s.
Fastball - 65 - Curveball - 60 - Changeup - 50 - Control - 50 - Command - 45