San Diego State shortstop David Hensley has been making plenty of noise during his time with the Aztecs, especially this season.
Last week, Hensley came up big in a doubleheader against San Jose State. In the second game, Hensley had a career-high five RBIs with four hits and three runs.
The Aztecs are 36-17 and second in the Mountain West Conference. For the season, Hensley is currently hitting .308 with three home runs and 28 RBIs. He also had a 29-game on-base streak early in the season as well, an accomplishment Hensley said reflects all the work he has put in at San Diego State.
“It’s a big accomplishment. I think that just shows everything I’ve worked for over these past four years at school,” Hensley said. “I try to do my best to fulfill that spot at the two-hole in the batting order and get on base as much as I can and give our team a chance to get some runs in across the board.”
Along with his bat, Hensley is quite the defender. In his career at San Diego State, he has played every position except catcher. Last season he played mostly in right field. This season he switched to the team’s primary shortstop.
There are not many guys who can comfortably play every position like that. Hensley said what helped him was the fact he was always bouncing around positions when he was growing up. He usually played with kids older than him and would fill in any empty position on the field.
“I used to jump around a lot and play with guys a little bit older than I am, so I would never have a set position if that makes sense, somewhere I play all the time,” he said. “So every time I go out and see these guys, I’m always playing in the outfield, playing in the infield, going where they need me. I think that over time that helped me develop as an athlete and as a baseball player.”
Hensley grew up playing a lot of different sports, but baseball was his main one. He began playing baseball at a young age in San Diego, California. His dad also used to play and got him interested early on.
Hensley’s dad saw some abilities in his son early on and encouraged him to stick with it and take things more seriously. Hensley credits his dad for helping him develop a love for the game.
“I think him letting me know that early, sticking with me, making sure I was on track to be where I needed to be and have the preparation I needed at that time to compete and excel, I think it built me up to have a real love for the game and a passion,” Hensley said.
Hensley enjoyed a great high school career at Patrick Henry High School in San Diego. He earned three varsity letters and served as team captain in all three of those seasons. In his senior year, he hit .320 with two home runs, 26 RBIs and 22 runs scored. He also hit .370 as a junior and .350 as a sophomore.
He attracted some attention from big schools like UCLA and Arizona. However, he did not receive many offers, and his grades in school were not the greatest either. Hensley said a lot of people believed he was looking to be drafted in the MLB rather than play in college.
“I didn’t really have a lot of offers coming out of high school. I had a lot more draft opportunities I guess than I did actual scholarship opportunities,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people thought that I wanted to go to college out of high school because of the position I was in. And not being the best student, I think that a lot of people passed on me.”
San Diego State coach Mark Martinez saw the potential in Hensley and came to his house one day to talk and give him an offer. Hensley said being able to play in his hometown meant a lot to him.
“It wasn’t until my senior year that I got a call from coach Mark Martinez,” Hensley said. “I came home one day from school, and they were sitting in my living room. He asked me if I wanted to be an Aztec. I guess that’s something I worked for my whole life, and being able to stay in my hometown, nothing meant more to me than that.”
Hensley saw some action in his freshman season, appearing in 24 games, including 19 starts. He batted .257 with eight RBIs and 12 runs.
Hensley was much more involved in his sophomore season, as he became a full-time starter on the Aztecs. He batted .276 with a home run, 20 RBIs and 20 runs. Hensley also enjoyed a team-high 13-game hitting streak that season where he hit .386.
Henley’s junior year was even better. He led the team in batting average at .357, which also ranked 12th in the Mountain West that season. He also hit three home runs, drove in 31 runs, scored 36 more and stole seven bases.
In his senior year, Hensley is hitting .308 with three home runs, 28 RBIs and 37 runs. He has also seen action as a pitcher this year. In five appearances, he has thrown six scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. He also has four strikeouts, a walk and a save.
Hensley has definitely made a great case for why he should be drafted into the MLB. In his four years at San Diego State, he has proven he can pretty much do it all. He is a great contact hitter at the top of the order and can play almost anywhere a team would need him.
Hensley said his versatility is one of his greatest strengths.
“That is a positive for me in the draft because you get somebody who is available to do multiple things instead of just a one-position player or a pitcher only,” Hensley said. “Kind of give them a little bit of a utility. Not a lot of guys get in as utility I don’t think too much nowadays.”
As far as what he still needs to work on, Hensley said he needs to continue to get stronger and keep his body in the best shape possible.
“Physically, I think I need to get stronger,” he said. “Just putting on some weight, sticking to it, making sure I keep my body healthy and give myself the best opportunity to succeed.”
The 2018 MLB draft will take place June 4-6. It will be interesting to see where Hensley lands. He definitely brings a lot to the table at the plate and on the field.
After life in baseball, Hensley would like to get involved in marketing and promotions in the music industry.
Featured image by Kelly Smiley
“From Our Haus to Yours”