Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Prospect #12 Joe Benson

Left Field, Center Field, Right Field
Drafted 2006, 2nd Round (64th overall) Joliet, Illinois
Levels Played in 2009: A+ Fort Myers
Opening Day Age: 22

Going into this season Joe Benson should be a sleeper prospect to breakout. It may be questioned that how can a top 12 prospect still be considered a sleeper. Well Joe Benson only tapped into the high level potential he has in 2009. He was ranked as high as number 2 on Baseball America in 2007 behind Nick Blackburn. After two years of injuries and set backs, Benson finally showed his potential that made him a second round pick.

Benson played only 80 games at Fort Myers in 2009 after suffering a broken hand when he lost a fight with a concrete wall. He hit .285/.414/.403. Benson still has very raw power, but his size and strength should be able to start lifting the ball. The issue with him is still learning pitch recognition. Although he had 46 walks in 2009 through 80 games, he still struck out 74 times. To improve this it is all a matter of staying healthy. Benson has suffered some bad injuries included a broken vertebrate in 2008.

Joe Benson's potential is an exciting 5 tool player. He is one of the most athletic guys in the Twins system. He is a very fast base runner and covers a lot of ground in all three outfield positions. At 6 feet 2 and 210 pounds he is a special kid. For a guy who got on base over 41% of the time there is still a lot of room for improvement and that is a scary thing. He could eventually become a guy who literally can hit anywhere in the order. He had a good instructional league and is seeing time in big league camp, which could hint he could be sent to AA New Britain after only 80 games last year is Fort Myers. Either way Benson just needs to play a full season to further develop his potential 5 tool set.

ETA: September call up 2011, Challenge for opening day outfielder in 2012.
Projection: 5 tool player. Great defense, good OBP, solid batting average, home runs could be anywhere from 10 to 25 and an easy 25+ stolen bases.
MLB Comparison: Dexter Fowler and Alex Rios

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