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ashburyjohn
04-16-2013, 01:51 PM
William Joseph (Joe) Benson is my Adopt-a-Prospect for 2013.

3773

Joe was the Twins' 2nd round draft pick in June 2006. He was born in a Chicago suburb, Hinsdale Illinois, on March 5 1988, so 2013 is his age-25 season. He's six-foot-one and weighs 215, typical stature for an outfielder. He bats and throws right handed.

Seth had a nice interview with him in 2008: http://www.sethspeaks.net/012508.htm. Also, Twins Daily member Jontler chose Joe as his adoptee last year, and that very good page remains up so I will link to it here: http://twinsdaily.com/adopt-prospect-2013/992-joe-benson.html

Like a lot of athletes, Joe played several sports, football and basketball in particular, and when the Twins drafted him he had to decide between that and college football. As a high-profile draftee, he is well documented on a lot of scouting web sites, in the organizational top ten of most ranked lists of Twins prospects (99th overall in Baseball America's preseason 2012 ranking, though he has dropped some), and at the moment I won't even begin to try to provide all the links for further insights on his talents and projections.

I'll refer you to his baseball-reference.com page (http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=benson001wil) for the details, because a table of stats here would be lengthy, but here is a summary of his pro career. As an 18-year-old coming from high school, he had a good start as a center fielder in the Gulf Coast League and the Twins also gave him a taste of single-A in Beloit. He stayed at Beloit the next two seasons, still playing mostly CF but also getting some experience in right. Reaching high-A ball in Fort Myers in 2009-10, his bat started coming around, with OPS in the .800 range, and the Twins promoted him to AA New Britain where he also did well. After repeating AA in 2011 with similar success, the Twins brought him up in September, and he acquitted himself reasonably well as a 23-year-old, batting .239 (.270/.352) in 74 plate appearances.

In addition to mostly center and some right, he's gotten some innings along the way in left field; and he even seems to have drawn the short straw one game in 2008 as emergency catcher! At bat, he looks to offer a combination of decent batting average plus developing power, reaching double-digits in home runs by his 2010 season with plenty of doubles to go with them; he generally augments his OBP with enough walks to provide a balance between table-setting for others, while also driving other runners in. But the other side of the coin is that he strikes out at a rate greater than 100 per season. As you might expect from a center fielder, he's a threat on the basepaths and stolen bases are a part of his game, but he doesn't look likely to be among league leaders in that category.

Injuries have played a significant role in his career so far, as he's missed playing time just about every season after his first two. The injury bug has been especially prominent as he nears a big-league career. After his promising debut in 2011, the 2012 season was an unmitigated disaster. He did not win a big-league job in spring training (he was a long-shot for that anyway), started off poorly at Rochester, got demoted to AA where he also did not shine, and in May underwent surgery on the hamate (wrist) bone. Then in August he underwent knee surgery. He did not have a strong spring 2013 either, and has started this season at Rochester again. As of the morning of April 16, in 33 plate appearances he's batting just .194 (.242/.226). Hopefully this is just a matter of shaking off the rust, and any chronic physical ailments are behind him.

Joe is a few months older than my daughter, so I hope he'll pardon me for adopting him in a fatherly fashion from afar for this season. :) Although the Twins started 2013 with Aaron Hicks in center field, I still believe that a breakout season by Benson is possible and would add greatly to their chances in coming seasons. Go Joe!

ashburyjohn
04-16-2013, 10:59 PM
I plan to post updates mostly when there are highlights involving Joe. Today's 1-0 loss to Scranton/WB had him going 0-4 with two strikeouts, lowering his batting average to .171. Not so good. See the ball, hit the ball, and get'em tomorrow, Joe.

ashburyjohn
04-21-2013, 09:30 PM
I'm happy to report that Joe went 2-for-4 Saturday, with one run scored; one of his singles was erased by a double play afterward, but on another (leadoff) single he was eventually brought in to score by a sac fly.

He didn't do as well in the double header on Sunday, going a collective 0-4 with one walk and a steal plus a hit-by-pitch. Both games were 7 innings (in keeping with minor league custom), both were low-scoring for the Wings, and one game was a home win, so everyone's plate appearances were low over the 13 innings. This brings Joe's season batting average to .170.

ashburyjohn
04-26-2013, 12:17 PM
Thursday April 25 was a good night for Joe. The team won 10-7, and Joe scored 4 of those runs. He went 2-for-4 including a triple, a single, a fielder's choice and a strikeout, plus a walk and a stolen base; Doug Bernier going 5-for-5 behind him had a lot to do with pushing him along to score each time he was on. Joe's batting average is up to .182 now.

stringer bell
04-26-2013, 10:24 PM
I'm a Benson fan and happy to report another 2-4 for Joe, with a homer and two runs scored. He's raised his average all the way to .200! Stay healthy and keep hitting Joe!

jokin
04-26-2013, 10:48 PM
I'm a Benson fan and happy to report another 2-4 for Joe, with a homer and two runs scored. He's raised his average all the way to .200! Stay healthy and keep hitting Joe!

Don't forget the triple, as well. I'm also a Benson fan, if he can get past his internal struggles, I think he can still help the major league club this year.

Fingers crossed that this is the start of the turn to the positive for Benson.

mike wants wins
04-30-2013, 09:39 AM
Also still holding out hope for Mr. Benson. Hoping he comes up if/when Josh is traded.

ashburyjohn
05-01-2013, 04:40 PM
The end of April marks a good moment to size up his season so far. In 90 plate appearances Joe is now batting .217, which is up considerably from its lowest point; his OBP/SLG is .278/.337, giving an OPS of .615. This is still subpar but being on the upswing is better than not. He has stolen 4 bases and been caught once, he has scored 12 times but only driven in 3, and his 28 strikeouts are about 15 more than one might hope. He has fielded pretty well, with his 2 errors coming in left field where he has the least experience. All in all, a mixed bag, but he hasn't buried himself and a strong May is very possible. Go Benson, we need another Joe on the Twins.

ashburyjohn
05-08-2013, 12:21 PM
From Seth's daily report on minor league results, the 16-inning May 7 game in Toledo:

Joe Benson was 2-6 with a walk and two doubles.

Nice.

greengoblinrulz
05-08-2013, 03:06 PM
Since April 24--12gms--13/44 (.295) 8runs 4db 2trp hr (.545 slgg) 3rbi 16k 3bb 2hbp (.367obp) solid .912OPS over 2wks
Could see him to take over for Hicks soon, but Ive never believed that he is a favorite of Terry Ryans.

ashburyjohn
05-08-2013, 05:19 PM
Since April 24--12gms--13/44 (.295) 8runs 4db 2trp hr (.545 slgg) 3rbi 16k 3bb 2hbp (.367obp) solid .912OPS over 2wks
Could see him to take over for Hicks soon, but Ive never believed that he is a favorite of Terry Ryans.

I'm going to be out of town for a couple of weeks starting Saturday; maybe I should ask you to be in charge of this page for that time in case he goes nuts at the plate. :)

ashburyjohn
05-27-2013, 02:00 PM
Well well. Just got back from a two-week absence, and found that my adopted prospect Joe Benson has been lost on waivers. Things change.

His 2013 record for Rochester thus ends with 164 plate appearances, in which he bats .192 and compiles an OPS of .541. Nothing at all like we (all) hoped for and (some) expected.

I won't continue to report on him in this forum, but I see that in his first game for the Rangers' AA affiliate he hit a home run. Good for you, Joe Benson, and good luck to you.