There is no question that Cole Henry has the stuff to be a top of the rotation arm for the Washington Nationals. The question is whether or not he can stay healthy.
He had already health issues in college, battling a stress reaction in his upper arm and elbow concerns. He also made just 20 minor league appearances between 2021 and 2022 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. Considering the checkered success rate for pitchers undergoing that procedure, it is fair to wonder if Henry can live up to his potential.
Cole Henry giving Washington Nationals reason to hope
That made his rehab outing on Tuesday all the more important. Henry surpassed all expectations, allowing just one hit over three shutout innings, striking out five for the Fredericksburg Nationals. His fastball reached 96 MPH while his curve was particularly sharp. It was exactly the type of outing that the Nationals needed to see.
There is no questioning Henry’s stuff when he is healthy. He possesses a pair of fastballs, a four seamer that has hit the upper 90s and a mid 90s two seamer that has plenty of armside sink. Both pitches set up his devastating curve well, a pitch that has generated plenty of weak contact against righties thus far in his professional career. His arsenal is rounded out by a low 80s changeup that has been a weapon against lefties. The tools are there; it is just a matter of staying on the mound.
Chances are, Henry will make a couple more rehab outings before heading to Triple-A where his season will begin in earnest. He had two appearances there last year, allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks over eight innings, striking out six. However, he will be healthy when he returns, potentially ready to dominate at that level as well. If he does, a promotion to the majors may not be out of the question later this year.
Cole Henry has the potential to be the Washington Nationals’ top pitching prospect. He showed why during his rehab outing on Tuesday.