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.