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View Full Version : Neal: Benson regains the pep in his step



Seth Stohs
02-26-2013, 09:07 AM
Joe Benson regains the pep in his step in Twins outfield | StarTribune.com (http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/193175701.html)

I continue to think that Joe Benson has been the forgotten man in this centerfield "battle." Aaron Hicks is the up-and-coming CF for the future. Darin Mastroianni seems to be the slight favorite to win the job to start the season. But one year ago today, Joe Benson was considered as big of a prospect as Hicks is now. He overcame two surgeries and some awful stats in 2012. His wrist hurt all April and in early May, his hamate bone finally "snapped." When he came back, it wasn't long before his knee went out, and instead of a 4-week rehab and some time in the AFL, he had microfracture surgery and had to rehab the whole offseason.

He is back in camp this spring. he has the speed, arm and defensive instincts to play any of the three outfield positions. He may swing-and-miss a lot, but when he makes solid contact, the ball can fly. It will be interesting to see how spring training plays out.

birdwatcher
02-26-2013, 09:27 AM
If Benson bounces back and becomes the player the Twins thought they had, that would be so huge! It would afford the Twins the opportunity to trade Willingham to a greedy buyer at the trade deadline in exchange for a great prospect. The question marks are, number one, were the injuries the sole cause of his dismal performance last year, and two, will he make the necessary improvement in plate discipline to become a reliable bat.

Badsmerf
02-26-2013, 09:28 AM
I'm on the Benson train. I just hope he can find a resemblance of plate discipline. That is his biggest obstacle. He will always be somewhat of a free swinger... Torii Hunter comes to mind with less defense and more power. That would be pretty nice in LF or RF for the future of this team.

Brock Beauchamp
02-26-2013, 09:40 AM
The microfracture is definitely a concern but I agree that many have been overlooking Benson. There's still a chance he'll become a productive starter and an even better chance he'll be a very good fourth outfielder with versatility.

SpiritofVodkaDave
02-26-2013, 10:44 AM
I think he becomes Michael Custer with a little more power, better defense but with a much lower average

SpiritofVodkaDave
02-26-2013, 10:44 AM
I think he becomes Michael Cuddyer with a little more power, better defense but with a much lower average

ashburyjohn
02-26-2013, 10:58 AM
Benson is a wild-card who can move perceptions of the Twins upward if he breaks out this year.

LimestoneBaggy
02-26-2013, 11:12 AM
I want to be high on Benson, but that K-rate sticks out like a sore thumb. Is there a good comp out there for Benson's offensive output to date? Someone that would give me a bit more optimism?

James
02-26-2013, 11:22 AM
I'm really hoping he wins the job out of ST. It would allow Hicks to get some at bats in AAA and show he's ready. If he's the starter or the 4th OF, either way, I think it's a big win for the team overall. I'm rooting for him for sure.

Halsey Hall
02-26-2013, 11:48 AM
I just don't understand all the trade talk everywhere. Trade Willingham, trade Morneau. Why would we trade these two? This team is bad enough without losing those two players. For young kids, the future of '14 and '15 with more prospects might seem the way to go. But for one who's been a fan since 1961, it's right now. The Twins can certainly afford these guys and I think it would be foolish to lose them for prospects that may never see the majors.

FrodaddyG
02-26-2013, 11:52 AM
For young kids, the future of '14 and '15 with more prospects might seem the way to go. But for one who's been a fan since 1961, it's right now. The Twins can certainly afford these guys and I think it would be foolish to lose them for prospects that may never see the majors.
Because the reality of the rebuilding effort is just that: reality. Willingham certainly isn't going to be a part of the next Twins contender. Morneau may be if he re-signs, but if he's likely to be out the door at the end of the year, better to get something for him. Or if what you're saying is that the Twins should go all in to win this year, I'd like a bit of whatever it is you happen to be ingesting these days, because that just isn't happening.

nicksaviking
02-26-2013, 11:58 AM
I think he becomes Michael Cuddyer with a little more power, better defense but with a much lower average

Seems like Josh Reddick would be the comp to shoot for. Great defense with power but lots of swing and miss.

JP3700
02-26-2013, 11:59 AM
I want to be high on Benson, but that K-rate sticks out like a sore thumb. Is there a good comp out there for Benson's offensive output to date? Someone that would give me a bit more optimism?


I haven't checked minor league stats to compare but a good comp off the top of my head would be Drew Stubbs. Power, speed, defense and a lot of strikeouts. I know Drew grew into his power, Joe has already shown a lot of power in the minors. Drew is on another level as far as speed though.

Halsey Hall
02-26-2013, 12:10 PM
Because the reality of the rebuilding effort is just that: reality. Willingham certainly isn't going to be a part of the next Twins contender. Morneau may be if he re-signs, but if he's likely to be out the door at the end of the year, better to get something for him. Or if what you're saying is that the Twins should go all in to win this year, I'd like a bit of whatever it is you happen to be ingesting these days, because that just isn't happening.

How can you say Willingham certainly isn't going to be part of it? He's signed thru next year. We should, or could be a contender next season if we keep the core guys. You could get 10 #1 draft picks for Morneau and not be better off than keeping him. That's a reality. If you look at the team now, and next year, having Morneau anchor first base is almost a must. He'll save a ton of errors. As it sits right now, and as I see the competition down here, being here since the first of the year and at the park daily, the only spot in the infield that's penned in for opening day is Justin. I just have no confidence that Plouffe is a major league baseball player, and if he does start there, he won't be around long. SS and 2nd base are both wide open. We all know the centerfield questions. And can Parmalee play rightfield? And produce all season? I doubt it. Hopefully a couple of guys will improve, and prove me wrong. But I think if you compare the starting lineup on opening, and on July 1, it'll be changed alot. The Twins will go all out to win as many games as possible this year. TR needs that, and so does Gardy. They have to improve on the last couple of years. I don't expect much improvement, but some. TR will make some moves this season.

ashburyjohn
02-26-2013, 12:16 PM
Or if what you're saying is that the Twins should go all in to win this year, I'd like a bit of whatever it is you happen to be ingesting these days, because that just isn't happening.

There is a middle ground between firesale rebuilding and going all in for a current year. In the business world, companies more often go bankrupt not due to debt but due to cashflow, or so I've read. And the Twins aren't a charity of the Pohlad Foundation. You can't completely ditch 2013, lest you put yourself in a downward revenue cycle that is hard to break out of. So I like Terry Ryan's approach that essentially bifurcates between the 2015 team and the players who will bridge to that year. Correia and Willingham and Doumit having their contracts end in 2014 makes perfect sense, whether we agree or disagree that Correia himself makes sense.

Brock Beauchamp
02-26-2013, 12:31 PM
You could get 10 #1 draft picks for Morneau and not be better off than keeping him.

The team would surely be better off at that point.


That's a reality.

No, it's not.

Morneau looks to be a pretty good player this season if he stays healthy. He was a just-a-hair above league average guy last season. The type of guy you like a complementary player but not guaranteed to produce anything.

And then there's Parmelee. We could be looking at a situation in July where the team improves by removing Morneau from the lineup (hopefully via trade), slotting Chris in at first, and adding Arcia to right field. There's a damned good chance that addition-by-subtraction will make the team better in both the short-term and the long-term. Let's not forget how bad Justin looked just 9 months ago.

I hope that doesn't happen but Justin isn't a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination.

Seth Stohs
02-26-2013, 12:38 PM
Benson just crushed a LONG home run off of Ricky Romero... that's pretty good!

FrodaddyG
02-26-2013, 12:50 PM
If you look at the team now, and next year, having Morneau anchor first base is almost a must. He'll save a ton of errors.Parmelee is by all accounts an excellent defensive first baseman. He's only a RF because of Morneau being on the team.

And with all these giant questions marks you just listed without even touching on the starting rotation, how exactly will this "core" be in the thick of contention next year?

nicksaviking
02-26-2013, 12:57 PM
Not to mention Parmelee's positional flexability is extremely helpful to keep Mauer in the lineup daily without having to DH him 2-3 times a week.

How'd we get so off topic? I don't like this new direction, Morneau's a great Twin and everyone loves him. I don't like any of us being put into a position that logically requires us to denigrate him in any capacity. I hope he retires wearing only one uniform but it just isn't financially or strategically logical to do.

Kwak
02-26-2013, 01:52 PM
Back to Benson! Strikeouts? If he bats .300 most all of you will be overflowing with glee--it does mean he made an out the other 70% of his ABs. Even if half of those are strikeouts, he's still batting .300. I'm not very familar with Benson, but from reading posts, Benson apparently has good power and speed on the bases (limiting discussion to offense only). Thus it sounds as if a realistic potential is 20 HR and 40 more extra base hits, many of which are a result of his speed and aggressively running the bases. That would result in a solid SLG. It wouldn't take very many walks for a .300 BAVG and the SLG referenced above to yield a more than acceptable OPS--and that with a very high strikeout rate. There have been some very accomplished (and acclaimed) hitters that struck-out often. I caution against getting hung-up on strikeouts. Take a step back and evaluate him holistically, not just on one statistic.

Badsmerf
02-26-2013, 02:22 PM
Back to Benson! Strikeouts? If he bats .300 most all of you will be overflowing with glee--it does mean he made an out the other 70% of his ABs. Even if half of those are strikeouts, he's still batting .300. I'm not very familar with Benson, but from reading posts, Benson apparently has good power and speed on the bases (limiting discussion to offense only). Thus it sounds as if a realistic potential is 20 HR and 40 more extra base hits, many of which are a result of his speed and aggressively running the bases. That would result in a solid SLG. It wouldn't take very many walks for a .300 BAVG and the SLG referenced above to yield a more than acceptable OPS--and that with a very high strikeout rate. There have been some very accomplished (and acclaimed) hitters that struck-out often. I caution against getting hung-up on strikeouts. Take a step back and evaluate him holistically, not just on one statistic.
The problem isn't just strike-outs, he has a contact and plate discipline issue. You also have to take BABIP into account. The higher the strike-outs the lower his average is going to go. He isn't really a ground ball hitter so whenever you elevate the ball your BABIP is going to be lower. He has to strike-out less and take better AB's to make it, there is no way around it. His floor is going to be a 4th OF since his defense is excellent, but we're all hoping he is more. I would take a .270 AVG from him with 20+ HR's at LF or RF any day.

raindog
02-26-2013, 02:50 PM
Parmelee is by all accounts an excellent defensive first baseman.

Ok, sorry to get this off-topic again, but what the Hell? Where did you hear this?

birdwatcher
02-26-2013, 02:57 PM
Of course, I don't know what I'm talking about, but something makes me think that Benson is a bit of a late bloomer in terms of the kind of maturity required to be mentally disciplined, to have a plan when you step to the plate. So, because optimism fun,I predict he comes of age, dramatically improves his contact rate, walks more and strikes out less. I predict he is a better offensive performer for the Twins in 2014 than Morneau is with, say Texas, and that Willingham is with, say, Atlanta.

I don't want to see Morneau traded, or Willingham traded. UNLESS we get stud prospects in return.

The chances of Morneau or Willingham being free from injury in the future aren't any better than the chances that elite prospects will bust. So let's hope for banner years from both, whether we trade them or not.

FrodaddyG
02-26-2013, 03:33 PM
Ok, sorry to get this off-topic again, but what the Hell? Where did you hear this?
From when he was named the top defensive 1B in the Eastern League waaaay back in 2011.

ashburyjohn
02-26-2013, 03:36 PM
I predict he comes of age, dramatically improves his contact rate, walks more and strikes out less.

Starting tomorrow. First thing tomorrow, that's the ticket.

LimestoneBaggy
02-26-2013, 03:55 PM
Starting tomorrow. First thing tomorrow, that's the ticket.

1+, ABJ

Great for the homerun today (no so much the swings and misses). From when I've seen him play (about three or four game), he seems like he has all the talent and athletic ability, but he's hacking (kind of reminds me of Luke Hughes' plate approach, which is why a few spring training home runs wouldn't surprise me). The defense is ready, if he can just control the strike zone, he'll be ready. I guess we'll see.

In 2011 John Sickels said (Minnesota Twins Top 20 Prospects for 2012 - Minor League Ball (http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/10/9/2479433/minnesota-twins-top-20-prospects-for-2012)):

"5) Joe Benson (http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/players/70764/joe-benson), OF, Grade B-: Impressive power/speed tools and should get a shot at a major league job in 2012. Still fights the strike zone, could be a 20-15 player but could also struggle in batting average and OBP departments."

birdwatcher
02-26-2013, 04:10 PM
Starting tomorrow. First thing tomorrow, that's the ticket.

Might be Thursday. Or Sunday.

diehardtwinsfan
02-26-2013, 08:49 PM
Back to Benson! Strikeouts? If he bats .300 most all of you will be overflowing with glee--it does mean he made an out the other 70% of his ABs. Even if half of those are strikeouts, he's still batting .300. I'm not very familar with Benson, but from reading posts, Benson apparently has good power and speed on the bases (limiting discussion to offense only). Thus it sounds as if a realistic potential is 20 HR and 40 more extra base hits, many of which are a result of his speed and aggressively running the bases. That would result in a solid SLG. It wouldn't take very many walks for a .300 BAVG and the SLG referenced above to yield a more than acceptable OPS--and that with a very high strikeout rate. There have been some very accomplished (and acclaimed) hitters that struck-out often. I caution against getting hung-up on strikeouts. Take a step back and evaluate him holistically, not just on one statistic.

I really like Benson, and I desparately hope last season was a fluke, but I think those projections (especially right away) are a bit over the top. He owns a career minor league BA of .258 and his break out seasons saw averages of .285 and .294. I do think he can hit like Cuddy as a ceiling (with obviously better defense), but he's also one of those players who Ks a bit too much and seems to have issues with the tool between his ears. I hope I'm wrong there, but I get the impression that he has trouble letting go of bad performances and that can cause for some nasty cycles.


I could see him winning the job and never looking back, and I could see him struggling in Rochester all season too... Just too volatile.