Get to Know: Joe Benson
First things firstÖ I will be on KFAN, on The Paul Allen Show at 9:55 this morning to talk about the Twins. You can find it online at www.KFAN.com, on its many affiliates, and please remember, that KFAN is now on 100.3 FM in the Twin Cities. So, tune in if you are able, or download the podcast later.
The Twins should be calling up Joe Benson today. There are many reasons. Iím sure the Twins brass was considering whether to call him up in September anyway. But right now, the Twins need an outfielder. Obviously Delmon Young was traded earlier this week. Jason Repko is on the Disabled List. We know that Luke Hughes is coming up today and that either Michael Cuddyer or Denard Span will be going on the Disabled List. The fact that theyíre not sure which one tells me that neither of them will be available tonight. Jason Kubel will be unavailable at least for tonight due to some family reasons. Matt Tolbert canít swing a bat, so he isnít really even an outfield option. So, if my calculations are correct, tonight against CC Sabathia, the Twins three outfield options are Ben Revere, Rene Tosoni and Trevor Plouffe with no fourth outfielder available. Two of them are left-handed, so good luck against CC!
Why Joe Benson and not someone at AAA like Brian Dinkelman, Dustin Martin, Brandon Roberts or Jeff Bailey? Those guys are not on the Twins 40 man roster. Joe Benson was one of four players added to the 40 man roster after last season. Last night for New Britain, Benson went 2-5 with two home runs and six RBI. So, here are some things you should know about Joe Benson:
∑ Twins 2nd round pick in 2006 out of Joliet Catholic Academy in Joliet, Illinois.
∑ By signing with the Twins, he gave up a scholarship to play football (RB) at Purdue.
∑ Former NFL great Mike Alstott went to the same high school as Benson.
∑ Benson was the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2010 when he hit .259/.343/.538 with 31 doubles, eight triples and 27 home runs between AA New Britain and Hi-A Ft. Myers.† (23 of the home runs were in AA)
∑ This year with the Rock Cats, he is hitting .283/.379/.489 with 25 doubles, two triples and 13 home runs.
∑ He missed a little more than a month of the season when he had his knee scoped.
∑ At 6-1 and 210 pounds, he is very strong. However, he is probably the second fastest player in the Twins organization behind only Ben Revere.
∑ He is a terrific outfielder, capable of playing all three positions. He has the speed for centerfield and the arm for a right fielder.
∑ He is a season ticket holder of the Chicago Bears. ďBear Down!Ē
∑ He has done Football Picks here at SethSpeaks.net for several years.
∑ He is 23 years old.
∑ He is very intense and competitive. This is primarily a positive thing, but can have its negative moments.
∑ His strikeout rate was something that he and the Twins needed to watch this year. Last year in New Britain, he struck out 115 times in 423 plate appearances (1 K every 3.68 PA). This year with the Rock Cats, he has 92 strikeouts in 378 plate appearances (1 K every 4.11 PA). †
I havenít heard yet if Benson will be promoted. Iím sure we wonít know more until early this afternoon. But I think it is exciting when young players, especially those that are such highly regarded prospects, get an opportunity. Calling him up from AA is not an indication that he is ready for the big leagues, so fans need to have their expectations tempered. He will most likely start the 2012 season in Rochester and that would be the right thing. But for a short-term fix and just to see where he is at, this would be a good thing.