Clayton Henning: Rays Shoot For Two-Sport Star in Round 11

By Robbie Knopf

The Rays love explosive upside. Clayton Henning is an extremely interesting player and beginning in Round 11, the Rays won’t lose any flexibility if they can’t sign him.

Henning is an athletic 6’3″, 180 centerfielder and wide receiver at St. Thomas Aquinas (KS) High School. He has been very good in both roles but the interesting was that he committed to Dayton on a baseball scholarship rather than football. We’ll have to see what they means in terms of signability.

Henning runs a 4.4 in the 40 yard dash, which is very impressive for his size. As a wide receiver, Henning managed a catch of 25 yards or more in all but one game he played in fall 2011 included four 60+ yard touchdown catches. He’s explosive.

In baseball, Henning has shown some good bat speed with some power, but his approach at the plate is non-existent and he needs a ton of work on plate discipline and hitting breaking pitches. He has been able to hit fastballs well. Henning has speed but no idea how to use it in baseball, struggling to steal bases and needing work on reading balls off the bat in centerfield. But he shows flashes and now the entire game may have changed since he decided to commit himself to baseball.

Henning is a raw athlete with clear speed and athleticism and who has shown some ability with the bat as well. He’s a complete work-in-progress, but he has the ability to be an excellent player if he can develop his raw talent into tangible tools. No idea about his signability, but Henning’s upside is great and he’s a vintage Rays draft pick. Desmond Jennings with a 10th round pick as a wide receiver by the Rays and he’s been incredible. The chances of the same results for Henning are slim, but he has the raw ability.