Up until the start of the season, we here at Twinkie Talk will be counting down our top 15 prospects. Today’s prospect is outfielder Joe Benson.
Who: Joe Benson
How Acquired: 2006 Draft (2nd round)
Highest level in 2009: Fort Myers
Benson is an athlete. He was highly touted as a high school football player, but chose to sign with the Twins instead. He has had seemingly modest numbers throughout his career, putting up .261, .328 and .323 wOBAs in his three years at A ball, but he had a potential breakout season last year when he hit .285/.414/.403 for Ft. Meyers. His .403 slugging percentage and .118 ISO might scare some people off, but Benson is still young (22 in 2010) and Fort Meyers is a tough park to hit in. Also, even though his numbers seem meager on the surface, they have been above average relative to his league over the past three years.
Benson has some back problems and given that Aaron Hicks looks to be the long term center fielder, will probably fit into a corner. But he has the ability to play a good centerfield, something that is valued in a fourth outfielder. He definitely needs to cut his strikeout rates, as he is striking out more than once every 4th plate appearance over his career, but if he can take it down even a little he will be much higher on this list last year.
And spoiler alert: In a lot of ways I like him more than a certain outfielder who will appear later in this list.