Hensley, 18, was 10-0 with a 1.52 ERA in 11 games as a senior this year, racking up 111 strikeouts in just 55 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound hurler was named the 2012 Gatorade Oklahoma "Baseball Player of the Year."
"We're excited to get a guy with such a high ceiling," said Yankees vice president of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer. "He has the ideal body for a high school pitcher, as well as power stuff, and has the ability to be a high-end starter. He's demonstrated a quality makeup and has shown himself to be a hard worker, which makes him a quality pick for us."
A switch-hitter at the plate, Hensley is said to top out at 94 mph, with his best pitch being a power curveball, and he became just the seventh Oklahoma pitcher to be selected in the first round out of high school. New York's next selections will come in the second round, on Tuesday, when the club will make the 84th and 89th overall picks.
Yankees ace CC Sabathia was on hand for the Draft in Secaucus, N.J., where the proceedings were televised live on MLB Network. Sabathia received Hensley's information from the Yankees' war room in Tampa, Fla., where Oppenheimer and his staff have full control of the selection process.
"I model my game after Roger Clemens -- my mechanics -- but I try to be like Roy Halladay by being efficient," Hensley told MLB Network in a pre-Draft interview, adding that his pregame meal is from Chipotle and that his favorite movie is "Bull Durham."
Hensley's father, Mike, was a second-round pick in the 1988 Draft and played in the St. Louis Cardinals' Minor League system from 1988-90 before beginning a career as a coach for Kansas State University.
The Yankees have re-emphasized the Draft in recent years, with general manager Brian Cashman calling it "vital" to the club's long-term needs. Hensley's selection marks the fifth straight year the Yankees have taken a high school player with their first Draft selection; Hensley is the first pitcher to be taken by the Yankees in the first round since 2008, when right-hander Gerrit Cole was picked by New York but did not sign.
"Because we've had as much success as we've had on a regular basis, we're always picking at the back end," Cashman said in advance of the Draft. "It's difficult. There's a lot of waiting, and it puts us at the back of the boat in every round, but the philosophy is the same no matter what, which is to take the best player on the board."
That player, in the Yankees' estimation, was Hensley, who also has a commitment to the University of Mississippi.
MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Days 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players.
This is the second time that the Yankees have owned the 30th overall selection in the Draft. The other came in 2007, when New York selected right-hander Andrew Brackman from North Carolina State University. Brackman pitched in three games for the Yankees last season and is currently in the Reds' farm system.