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  • Joe Benson claimed off waivers by Rangers

    Outfield prospect Joe Benson, who was Minnesota's second-round selection in the 2006 draft, has been claimed by the Texas Rangers and is no longer a member of the Twins organization.

    Benson, 25, was placed on outright waivers after being removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Saturday's starter, P.J. Walters. Although he was ranked by Baseball America as a Top 100 prospect in both 2011 and 2012, Benson's stock has dropped immensely in the past two seasons, mired by injuries and poor performance.

    A center fielder with exceptional athleticism, Benson made his lone major-league appearance in September of 2011, when he joined the Twins for a month after a second consecutive strong season in Class-AA New Britain. He didn't hit much during the audition but his future seemed bright as a 23-year-old already getting his first taste.

    Unfortunately, since then, things have snowballed downward for Benson. Last year he started in Rochester and played so poorly he was demoted back to New Britain. He missed time with a broken wrist early in the season and eventually ended up needing microfracture surgery on his knee. He finished with a .202 average and .624 OPS in 76 games.

    He had hoped to rebound this season but unfortunately his career has only continued to unravel. After a poor showing in spring training, he reported to Triple-A where his struggles continued, hitting just .192 with one homer through 42 games. In 164 plate appearances, Benson has whiffed 50 times while drawing only 10 walks.

    He's a great athlete and he's still not far removed being successful, but Benson's offensive issues over these last two years have been staggering and -- in an organization crowded with outfield prospects -- he found himself the odd man out. The fact that 20 teams passed on him before Texas' turn is telling. Hopefully in the Rangers organization he can turn things around and repair his broken plate approach.
    Comments 318 Comments
    1. golfboy1's Avatar
      golfboy1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I guess I just am not clear about this MN OF situation. I see two guys, Hicks and Arcia, as playing the OF next year. Willingham MUST be traded and either Morneau or Parmelee will be at first with the other likely just gone. Seems like Benson competing with Danny Ortiz would have been a good thing. They could have actually platooned in LF or RF.
      I agree about Hicks & Arcia (hopefully they play well enough). If they get a good offer for Willingham they should trade him.

      I don't see where Benson or Ortiz rate that highly. Parmelee might still be around for RF plus Douhmit, Ramirez, Mastroianni & Colabello are likely ahead of Benson or Ortiz.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      So let's run through these:

      -Arcia-Hicks-Parmelee (ok, not a great defense at all, and a question in RF offensively, and this assumes someone else is around next year to play 1B)
      -Arcia-Hicks-Doumit or Colabello (not real RF at all)
      -Arcia-Hicks-Ramirez (Ramirez as a starter? Yikes)
      -Arcia-Hicks-Mastro (Mastro as a starter? yikes)

      Danny Ortiz has actually improved his numbers WITH the move up this year to AA. That is encouraging. And Benson got away and his smacking a homer a game at the moment.

      The point is that the Twins have now gotten rid of Span, Revere, and Benson with Aaron Hicks having a very slow adjustment time to big league baseball. I thought that the CF position was to be valued?
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      The Twins are not clueless morons, but they may be, you know, slightly mistaken about the defensive value of Drew Butera.
      They may be. But when you're basing your argument on his CS% and passed ball numbers compiled in a limited sample size while working with a preposterously bad pitching staff, perhaps we can acknowledge that they may have better insight on the matter? That's not meant as a dig, but the fact is that there really aren't any great metrics for evaluating catcher defense, especially when we're talking about a sample of 135 total games over the last two years.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      Benson is a AA player.
      I don't think that's clear yet. I personally don't get the argument that "he's hit three homeruns...we really screwed up!" The mistake with Benson has little to do with his future - whether he becomes a career AA player or a future all-star - it was about value. The Twins have had a 6-7 year run now of being woefully inept at maximizing value.

      Not cutting Hermson or Butera over Benson is another example of this. Benson needed a change of scenery, but it didn't need to happen now and in this way over far better options for waivers. That's the mistake IMO.
    1. golfboy1's Avatar
      golfboy1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      So let's run through these:

      -Arcia-Hicks-Parmelee (ok, not a great defense at all, and a question in RF offensively, and this assumes someone else is around next year to play 1B)
      -Arcia-Hicks-Doumit or Colabello (not real RF at all)
      -Arcia-Hicks-Ramirez (Ramirez as a starter? Yikes)
      -Arcia-Hicks-Mastro (Mastro as a starter? yikes)

      Danny Ortiz has actually improved his numbers WITH the move up this year to AA. That is encouraging. And Benson got away and his smacking a homer a game at the moment.

      The point is that the Twins have now gotten rid of Span, Revere, and Benson with Aaron Hicks having a very slow adjustment time to big league baseball. I thought that the CF position was to be valued?

      Well, they are playing Parmelee & Doumit out there now so that is certainly an option. I'm not claiming that Mastro or Ramirez would be a very good option as a starter but I don't see how Ortiz or Benson would qualify as an improvement. Ortiz is doing better @ AA but he is still hitting .294 & striking out once a game. He would be overmatched @ the ML level & unless Benson does a miracle turnaround I don't see him making an impact.

      I think the Span & Revere trades were worthwhile but the Twins should have found someone to bring to camp who was a reasonable option. At the least, they should have went after Borbon when he was available since Hicks was off to a poor start by then.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      They may be. But when you're basing your argument on his CS% and passed ball numbers compiled in a limited sample size while working with a preposterously bad pitching staff, perhaps we can acknowledge that they may have better insight on the matter? That's not meant as a dig, but the fact is that there really aren't any great metrics for evaluating catcher defense, especially when we're talking about a sample of 135 total games over the last two years.
      So...you're essentially saying that you, and the Twins FO, have nothing substantive or objective to stand on in the claim that Butera should continue to be valued as a current plus- (or once-great in 2010?) defensive catcher?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by golfboy1 View Post
      Well, they are playing Parmelee & Doumit out there now so that is certainly an option. I'm not claiming that Mastro or Ramirez would be a very good option as a starter but I don't see how Ortiz or Benson would qualify as an improvement. Ortiz is doing better @ AA but he is still hitting .294 & striking out once a game. He would be overmatched @ the ML level & unless Benson does a miracle turnaround I don't see him making an impact.

      I think the Span & Revere trades were worthwhile but the Twins should have found someone to bring to camp who was a reasonable option. At the least, they should have went after Borbon when he was available since Hicks was off to a poor start by then.
      I swear, I feel like I found my long-lost, separated-at-birth sibling...
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Anyone happen to check out his stats at AA? 11 AB's 1 triple and 3 HR... looks like possibly another hitter who could excel after not having to hit "the Twins way". Good luck Joe and I can't wait to see you make them pay for dumping you like they should have done to Gardy and his little buddy Rick Anderson a long time ago.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      I swear, I feel like I find my long-lost,separated-at-birth sibling...
      I'll let the administration know they'll be needing additional moderators.



    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I don't think that's clear yet. I personally don't get the argument that "he's hit three homeruns...we really screwed up!" The mistake with Benson has little to do with his future - whether he becomes a career AA player or a future all-star - it was about value. The Twins have had a 6-7 year run now of being woefully inept at maximizing value.

      Not cutting Hermson or Butera over Benson is another example of this. Benson needed a change of scenery, but it didn't need to happen now and in this way over far better options for waivers. That's the mistake IMO.
      6 or 7 years and it comes to a head with Joe Benson. Would you be satisfied with Ryan's head or are we talking ownership?
    1. launchingthrees's Avatar
      launchingthrees -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      So...you're essentially saying that you, and the Twins FO, have nothing substantive or objective to stand on in the claim that Butera should continue be valued as a current plus- (or once-great in 2010?) defensive catcher?
      Nah man the Twins have some secret player evaluation tools and no one else in the world understands them. TRUST THEM. It has NOTHING to do with his father. War, ops, woba, WRC+ can't show a man's heart.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by darin617 View Post
      make them pay for dumping you like they should have done to Gardy and his little buddy Rick Anderson a long time ago.
      Connecting the loss on waivers of a AAA center fielder to a major league pitching coach is a leap I just don't quite have the intellect to follow you in, my brother.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      So...you're essentially saying that you, and the Twins FO, have nothing substantive or objective to stand on in the claim that Butera should continue to be valued as a current plus- (or once-great in 2010?) defensive catcher?
      What I'm saying is that catcher defense is often one of those things better evaluated by the people on the field. There are many nuances to the position that can't be quantified. I certainly haven't seen anything substantive to convince me that he's not a plus defensive catcher, and I don't think there's anything objective about choosing SSS stats and presenting them as evidence of his decline. Joe Mauer's CS% was 14% last year, he must have the worst arm in league history, right?

      Could someone explain to me why Butera, who's been reputed as a top-notch defensive backstop throughout his career, would suddenly undergo a major decline in his late 20s? Has he been hurt? Is there anything to back up this viewpoint other than a couple insignificant statistics?
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Could someone explain to me why Butera, who's been reputed as a top-notch defensive backstop throughout his career, would suddenly undergo a major decline in his late 20s?
      Because people are beginning to realize that a good chunk of his "top-notch" defensive reputation can be attributed to Nichols' Law of Catcher Defense?
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by launchingthrees View Post
      Nah man the Twins have some secret player evaluation tools and no one else in the world understands them. TRUST THEM. It has NOTHING to do with his father. War, ops, woba, WRC+ can't show a man's heart.
      It is TWTW, just ask Hawk.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
      Because people are beginning to realize that a good chunk of his "top-notch" defensive reputation can be attributed to Nichols' Law of Catcher Defense?
      So your argument is that the Twins, a major-league baseball organization filled with professional talent evaluators, have a view on Butera that amounts to "Hey, this guy's a historically bad hitter so he must be a really great defender!" And that's the reason they've kept him around for the last three years and paid him $700K in arb this year.

      This is the reason I can't take a lot of these anti-Butera tirades seriously. No basis in reality.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      6 or 7 years and it comes to a head with Joe Benson. Would you be satisfied with Ryan's head or are we talking ownership?
      Um, no. But this shows they may not have learned their lesson on this front. I'm not sure why you felt it necessary to twist my post this many ways.

      I'd just like them to start thinking more about value in their moves. Cutting Benson over Hermsen is just a baffling waste of value. I didn't call for any heads, I called for an improvement. Hold your horses chief.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      So your argument is that the Twins, a major-league baseball organization filled with professional talent evaluators, have a view on Butera that amounts to "Hey, this guy's a historically bad hitter so he must be a really great defender!" And that's the reason they've kept him around for the last three years and paid him $700K in arb this year.

      This is the reason I can't take a lot of these anti-Butera tirades seriously. No basis in reality.
      Please show your numbers, or the Twins' numbers on the defensive side that demonstrate that your/their perception of Butera has a "basis in reality." The only thing substantive you've proffered thus far- his defensive prowess has "been reputed." Need more, so I'll wait.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      It is clear that Butera is a good defensive catcher. So is Mauer, right now. That he is currently a "premium" defensive catcher is certainly up for debate. The numbers don't show that. At all.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      So your argument is that the Twins, a major-league baseball organization filled with professional talent evaluators, have a view on Butera that amounts to "Hey, this guy's a historically bad hitter so he must be a really great defender!" And that's the reason they've kept him around for the last three years and paid him $700K in arb this year.

      This is the reason I can't take a lot of these anti-Butera tirades seriously. No basis in reality.
      I won't claim to know if Butera is or is not an elite defensive catcher, but aren't those the same talent evaluators who thought Nishi was a starting MLB shortstop, and who thought Matt Capps was an elite enough relief pitcher to trade a top prospect for AND forfeit a 1st round draft pick to keep?
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