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  • Benson and Tosoni moving in the wrong direction

    Original post from North Dakota Twins Fan
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    In the last couple of weeks, the Twins have seen a concerning development with two players in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Joe Benson and Rene Tosoni were demoted to New Britain after starting the year with the Rochester Red Wings. The most concerning thing for both of these players might be the fact that both of them got playing time in the major leagues during last year's dismal season. Each of these players is on a different path but the front office for the Twins has to be frustrated with their performance so far this year.

    When the Twins drafted Benson in the second round of the 2006 draft, the team liked his athletic ability and the up side he could offer as a strong defensive player to go along with his offensive skill set. Since that time, Benson has gradually moved through the Twins minor league system and he saw himself be rated as one of the top prospects for the club. In my offseason rankings, I had Benson as the number two rated prospect for the Twins with him finishing behind Miguel Sano.

    The 2010 season was a break out year for Mr. Benson as he was awarded with the Twins Minor League Player of the Year. He started the year in Fort Myers and dominated pitching in the Florida State League for 21 games. Before being promoted to New Britain, he hit .294/.375/.588 with 11 doubles and four home runs. The power followed him to New Britain even though his batting average dropped a little bit. He ended the year with a very good final stat line of .259/.343/.538 with 27 home runs, 31 doubles, and 8 triples.

    Benson continued to play well last season and the argument could have been made for him to win the minor league player of the year for the second consecutive year. He would make his MLB debut as a September call-up but his first taste of the big leagues came with very little success. He would start the 2012 season in Rochester and it seemed like he should be knocking on the door to the big leagues. This dream was far from the reality.

    During his time with the Red Wings, Benson struggled at the plate to the tune of hitting .179/.269/.316 with seven extra-base hits in 28 games. The Twins felt a change of pace was in order and he was sent to New Britain to try and find his swing. Since he arrived in New Britain, his swing has continued to falter and he is batting .156/.250/.500 in eight games. As one of the top prospects for the organization, it is tough to watch him struggle in his seventh season as a member of the Twins farm system.

    Rene Tosoni has never been considered a top prospect for the Twins but he has shown some versatility since being a 36th round pick back in 2005. In 2009 and 2010, Tosoni had a batting average around .270 and he was able to show a little bit of power. Last season he spent time going up and down between Rochester and Minnesota but he was never able to find success for the Red Wings.

    He started the 2012 campaign back in Rochester and much like Benson, he struggled with trying to find his swing with the Red Wings. He missed some time in April with a lacerated left ring finger but this was still no excuse for his slow start. He went 5-for-5 on Monday and this still only raised his batting line to .167/.267/.197 in 21 games. He is on the way back to New Britain after not playing there since the 2010 campaign.

    There has been a lot of talk around Triple-A hitting coach Tom Brunsansky for his ability to work with young hitters on their approach at the plate. His message must not have been getting through to Benson and Tosoni and now they will be in the hands of Rudy Hernandez, the hitting coach for New Britain. It will be interesting to see how they handle the transition back to the Eastern League.

    With the Twins lacking a ton of prospects in the upper minor leagues, it is discouraging to see to players will major league service time being sent in the opposite direction. The Twins have seen plenty of players make the trip from Rochester this year but it looks like Benson and Tosoni won't be included in that group anytime soon. It will be important to see how they adjust to their demotion and hopefully they will both be able to regain their form in the coming months.
    This article was originally published in blog: Benson and Tosoni moving in the wrong direction started by Cody Christie
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Two more failures to add to the long list of failures attributed to the scouting dept and coaching staffs. That these guys were even listed on the Twins top prospect lists shows how bad the minor league system is.

      Cant wait to see how Ryan and his band of clowns screw up this draft!
    1. gryglamn29's Avatar
      gryglamn29 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      Two more failures to add to the long list of failures attributed to the scouting dept and coaching staffs. That these guys were even listed on the Twins top prospect lists shows how bad the minor league system is.

      Cant wait to see how Ryan and his band of clowns screw up this draft!
      How is it scouting failure when a player falters late in his minor league career?
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      So, twinswon1991, please regale us with a better explanation as to how the scouting department failed here. Tell us in which round Tosoni was drafted, for example, and then explain why you think competent scouts, as opposed to a band of clowns, would have found a better player with that pick. Back it up with a fact, OK?

      Band of clowns, huh? That's not what I see, but I do detect the smell of ignorance out there somewhere...
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      I don't think draft pundits considered Joe Benson a bad pick. What Benson really needs is to hang out for a month with Bryce Harper. Watch what he does, how he practices, how he plays. Joe Benson could be a lot like that. Maybe MLB should have some sort of rotary club deal where minor league players could shadow big leaguers for a week or two. Would Benson pick Harper to hang with?
    1. peterb18's Avatar
      peterb18 -
      I don't think that there is any question about Benson's talent--fast. powerful, etc. However, Benson's problems are with his senses--too out of control. He must slow the game down, or he will never be a productive player at the high levels.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
      I don't think draft pundits considered Joe Benson a bad pick.
      HUH--Benson was a second round pick in 2006--thats 6 years ago. He got a cup of coffee (or a couple of cups) with the Twins and some time in Rochester--thats it in 6 years. Thats pretty bad for a top round pick. Yes, he could turn it around, but it has taken 6 years and he may have peaked.

      This scares me--I dont want to see Twins draft a HS kid this year--I want a college pitcher. When you are going well its OK to pick HS kids and let them develop over 3-4 years (not 6). When you are not going well, you dont have that luxury.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      I seem to recall that Benson was injured for the better part of a couple of those years. This may have hurt his development some, but I think it's accurate to say that he's been assessed as being overly excitable and unfocused. These obstacles may be hard for him to overcome.

      Also, Tosoni is coming off an injury, so before we label him a bust, we should see how things play out.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      HUH--Benson was a second round pick in 2006--thats 6 years ago. He got a cup of coffee (or a couple of cups) with the Twins and some time in Rochester--thats it in 6 years. Thats pretty bad for a top round pick. Yes, he could turn it around, but it has taken 6 years and he may have peaked.
      to be fair, that's about the time that Denard Span first getting an opportunity, same with Hunter. Benson fits into the same raw, athletic, talented type as those two. Who knows what will happen.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      It's not even June yet.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      HUH--Benson was a second round pick in 2006--thats 6 years ago. He got a cup of coffee (or a couple of cups) with the Twins and some time in Rochester--thats it in 6 years. Thats pretty bad for a top round pick. Yes, he could turn it around, but it has taken 6 years and he may have peaked.

      This scares me--I dont want to see Twins draft a HS kid this year--I want a college pitcher. When you are going well its OK to pick HS kids and let them develop over 3-4 years (not 6). When you are not going well, you dont have that luxury.
      Here's the 2006 2nd round picks - http://www.baseball-reference.com/dr...ype=year_round
      It doesn't seem that Benson was a bad pick, it just points out how hard it is for 2nd rounders to even make the bigs.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Way too early to judge Benson... He just turned 24 and his is playing in a league (AA) where the average age is above that. Plus he had success before and it looks like he might be injured. So I would wait a couple of seasons...
      Tosoni was a 36th round pick. He has overachieved doing what he did and making in to the majors for a cup of coffee. Was never any sort of a prospect.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Way too early to judge Benson... He just turned 24 and his is playing in a league (AA) where the average age is above that. Plus he had success before and it looks like he might be injured. So I would wait a couple of seasons...
      Tosoni was a 36th round pick. He has overachieved doing what he did and making in to the majors for a cup of coffee. Was never any sort of a prospect.
      The average age is higher, but I doubt the average age of actual prospects is higher. Benson should have gotten a stint at Rochester in August last year and he should have never been demoted this year.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I am as big a Benson fan as there is. He handled demotion before and I hope he does again. He does have the raw tools to be a fine player, but he seems to fight himself as much as he fights opposing pitchers. Hopefully, he gets it together after recovering from injury.
    1. twinsfan214's Avatar
      twinsfan214 -
      Yes, so disappointing. Depressing even. I had such hopes for Benson. Now he just seems like another "head case". I hope not and that he turns it around. Would like to see someone in right (for the Twins) who can hit.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Paul Molitor on 1500espn interview said that Benson still struggles with the Emotional Side of the GAme... Physically, he's got the talent.

      Also said that he has to have surgery on his hamate bone, likely to miss the next 6 weeks, at least.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Fractured hammate would explain Benson's issues 100%. This is a facture that happens either because of overuse (and that happens little by little and you cannot tell other than soreness on the wrist, until one day you cannot even grab a bat) or because of injury (like HBP or falling down on the outside -pinky finger side- of your wrist). Wishing him well, this is something with 100% successful return. Takes about 6-8 weeks and might need some more time to get the hitting back.
    1. BD57's Avatar
      BD57 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsfan214 View Post
      Yes, so disappointing. Depressing even. I had such hopes for Benson. Now he just seems like another "head case". I hope not and that he turns it around. Would like to see someone in right (for the Twins) who can hit.
      Baseball is a hard game, especially (IMO) because of the "daily grind" factor - - - - there's not much time to work on mechanics, study your approach, etc.

      Benson may have 6 years but he's not "old" - - - - plus, the idea is to develop the kids, not throw them to the wolves.

      Holding out hope b/c we're not going to get good again unless kids like Benson begin to figure it out.
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