February 25, 2010

Top 50 Twins Prospects 2010: #11 Joe Benson

2010 Top 50 Twins Prospects | #11 | Joe Benson

Position | Outfield

Bats/Throws | Right/Right

| March 5, 1988 (Hinsdale, Illinois)

| Chino Hills High School

| 6'2''

| 211 lbs.

2009 Ranking | 27

Selected in the second round of the 2006 draft, Joe Benson didn't need a lot of convincing to pass up an athletic scholarship from Purdue to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. The Twins signed Benson to a $575,000 signing bonus, which is considered fair market value for his draft position. Benson, an all-star running back garnered a lot of interest from Big 10 schools to play both baseball and football. Instead, the Twins may have gotten one of the biggest steals of the draft.

After quickly signing, Benson began his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Twins where he hit .260/.335/.444 in 196 at-bats. He was later promoted to the Midwest League where he finished the season off with the Snappers. In 2007, Benson spent the entire year with the Snappers, hitting .255/.347/.368 with 31 extra-base hits in 432 at-bats. He returned to Beloit in 2008, but continued to struggle by hitting .248/.326/.382 in 254 at-bats. His season was cut-short with a back injury. The Twins decided to move him up the ladder in 2009, and the pieces finally started to fall into place. Despite playing in a league that is pitcher-friendly (the Florida State League), Benson's offensive numbers improved in every way. He hit .285/.414/.403 in 263 at-bats. He got off to a fast start but missed two months after losing a fight with a cement wall following a disagreement with an umpire. Thankfully, he rebounded after his return and finished the season on a right note. Probably the most important aspect of Benson's 2009 campaign was that he got on-base 41% of the time, which was around 7% points higher than his career average.

Benson has all the tools to be successful, so hopefully he'll be able to control his emotions and stay on the field. He has great speed and can play all three outfield positions exceptionally well. He still has a lot to prove with really just one good season under his belt. He's certainly a guy to keep an eye on this season.

2009 Statistics
          Level       G    PA     AVG     OBP     SLG     XBH     HR   wRC+
          R (GCL)     2    72    .200    .429    .200       0      0     94
A+ 80 72 .285 .414 .403 18 5 143

2010 Outlook

Benson may begin the season in Ft. Myers but there's little reason as to why he shouldn't finish the season in Double-A New Britain.


Estimated Time of Arrival