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Thread: Neal: Benson regains the pep in his step

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Neal: Benson regains the pep in his step

    Joe Benson regains the pep in his step in Twins outfield | StarTribune.com

    I continue to think that Joe Benson has been the forgotten man in this centerfield "battle." Aaron Hicks is the up-and-coming CF for the future. Darin Mastroianni seems to be the slight favorite to win the job to start the season. But one year ago today, Joe Benson was considered as big of a prospect as Hicks is now. He overcame two surgeries and some awful stats in 2012. His wrist hurt all April and in early May, his hamate bone finally "snapped." When he came back, it wasn't long before his knee went out, and instead of a 4-week rehab and some time in the AFL, he had microfracture surgery and had to rehab the whole offseason.

    He is back in camp this spring. he has the speed, arm and defensive instincts to play any of the three outfield positions. He may swing-and-miss a lot, but when he makes solid contact, the ball can fly. It will be interesting to see how spring training plays out.

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    If Benson bounces back and becomes the player the Twins thought they had, that would be so huge! It would afford the Twins the opportunity to trade Willingham to a greedy buyer at the trade deadline in exchange for a great prospect. The question marks are, number one, were the injuries the sole cause of his dismal performance last year, and two, will he make the necessary improvement in plate discipline to become a reliable bat.

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    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    I'm on the Benson train. I just hope he can find a resemblance of plate discipline. That is his biggest obstacle. He will always be somewhat of a free swinger... Torii Hunter comes to mind with less defense and more power. That would be pretty nice in LF or RF for the future of this team.
    Do or do not. There is no try.

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    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    The microfracture is definitely a concern but I agree that many have been overlooking Benson. There's still a chance he'll become a productive starter and an even better chance he'll be a very good fourth outfielder with versatility.

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    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    I think he becomes Michael Custer with a little more power, better defense but with a much lower average

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    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    I think he becomes Michael Cuddyer with a little more power, better defense but with a much lower average

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    Twins Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    Benson is a wild-card who can move perceptions of the Twins upward if he breaks out this year.

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    I want to be high on Benson, but that K-rate sticks out like a sore thumb. Is there a good comp out there for Benson's offensive output to date? Someone that would give me a bit more optimism?

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    Senior Member All-Star James's Avatar
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    I'm really hoping he wins the job out of ST. It would allow Hicks to get some at bats in AAA and show he's ready. If he's the starter or the 4th OF, either way, I think it's a big win for the team overall. I'm rooting for him for sure.
    You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.

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    I just don't understand all the trade talk everywhere. Trade Willingham, trade Morneau. Why would we trade these two? This team is bad enough without losing those two players. For young kids, the future of '14 and '15 with more prospects might seem the way to go. But for one who's been a fan since 1961, it's right now. The Twins can certainly afford these guys and I think it would be foolish to lose them for prospects that may never see the majors.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer FrodaddyG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Smith View Post
    For young kids, the future of '14 and '15 with more prospects might seem the way to go. But for one who's been a fan since 1961, it's right now. The Twins can certainly afford these guys and I think it would be foolish to lose them for prospects that may never see the majors.
    Because the reality of the rebuilding effort is just that: reality. Willingham certainly isn't going to be a part of the next Twins contender. Morneau may be if he re-signs, but if he's likely to be out the door at the end of the year, better to get something for him. Or if what you're saying is that the Twins should go all in to win this year, I'd like a bit of whatever it is you happen to be ingesting these days, because that just isn't happening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
    I think he becomes Michael Cuddyer with a little more power, better defense but with a much lower average
    Seems like Josh Reddick would be the comp to shoot for. Great defense with power but lots of swing and miss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LimestoneBaggy View Post
    I want to be high on Benson, but that K-rate sticks out like a sore thumb. Is there a good comp out there for Benson's offensive output to date? Someone that would give me a bit more optimism?

    I haven't checked minor league stats to compare but a good comp off the top of my head would be Drew Stubbs. Power, speed, defense and a lot of strikeouts. I know Drew grew into his power, Joe has already shown a lot of power in the minors. Drew is on another level as far as speed though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrodaddyG View Post
    Because the reality of the rebuilding effort is just that: reality. Willingham certainly isn't going to be a part of the next Twins contender. Morneau may be if he re-signs, but if he's likely to be out the door at the end of the year, better to get something for him. Or if what you're saying is that the Twins should go all in to win this year, I'd like a bit of whatever it is you happen to be ingesting these days, because that just isn't happening.
    How can you say Willingham certainly isn't going to be part of it? He's signed thru next year. We should, or could be a contender next season if we keep the core guys. You could get 10 #1 draft picks for Morneau and not be better off than keeping him. That's a reality. If you look at the team now, and next year, having Morneau anchor first base is almost a must. He'll save a ton of errors. As it sits right now, and as I see the competition down here, being here since the first of the year and at the park daily, the only spot in the infield that's penned in for opening day is Justin. I just have no confidence that Plouffe is a major league baseball player, and if he does start there, he won't be around long. SS and 2nd base are both wide open. We all know the centerfield questions. And can Parmalee play rightfield? And produce all season? I doubt it. Hopefully a couple of guys will improve, and prove me wrong. But I think if you compare the starting lineup on opening, and on July 1, it'll be changed alot. The Twins will go all out to win as many games as possible this year. TR needs that, and so does Gardy. They have to improve on the last couple of years. I don't expect much improvement, but some. TR will make some moves this season.

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    Twins Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrodaddyG View Post
    Or if what you're saying is that the Twins should go all in to win this year, I'd like a bit of whatever it is you happen to be ingesting these days, because that just isn't happening.
    There is a middle ground between firesale rebuilding and going all in for a current year. In the business world, companies more often go bankrupt not due to debt but due to cashflow, or so I've read. And the Twins aren't a charity of the Pohlad Foundation. You can't completely ditch 2013, lest you put yourself in a downward revenue cycle that is hard to break out of. So I like Terry Ryan's approach that essentially bifurcates between the 2015 team and the players who will bridge to that year. Correia and Willingham and Doumit having their contracts end in 2014 makes perfect sense, whether we agree or disagree that Correia himself makes sense.

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    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Smith View Post
    You could get 10 #1 draft picks for Morneau and not be better off than keeping him.
    The team would surely be better off at that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Smith View Post
    That's a reality.
    No, it's not.

    Morneau looks to be a pretty good player this season if he stays healthy. He was a just-a-hair above league average guy last season. The type of guy you like a complementary player but not guaranteed to produce anything.

    And then there's Parmelee. We could be looking at a situation in July where the team improves by removing Morneau from the lineup (hopefully via trade), slotting Chris in at first, and adding Arcia to right field. There's a damned good chance that addition-by-subtraction will make the team better in both the short-term and the long-term. Let's not forget how bad Justin looked just 9 months ago.

    I hope that doesn't happen but Justin isn't a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination.

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Benson just crushed a LONG home run off of Ricky Romero... that's pretty good!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer FrodaddyG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Smith View Post
    If you look at the team now, and next year, having Morneau anchor first base is almost a must. He'll save a ton of errors.
    Parmelee is by all accounts an excellent defensive first baseman. He's only a RF because of Morneau being on the team.

    And with all these giant questions marks you just listed without even touching on the starting rotation, how exactly will this "core" be in the thick of contention next year?

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    Not to mention Parmelee's positional flexability is extremely helpful to keep Mauer in the lineup daily without having to DH him 2-3 times a week.

    How'd we get so off topic? I don't like this new direction, Morneau's a great Twin and everyone loves him. I don't like any of us being put into a position that logically requires us to denigrate him in any capacity. I hope he retires wearing only one uniform but it just isn't financially or strategically logical to do.

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    Back to Benson! Strikeouts? If he bats .300 most all of you will be overflowing with glee--it does mean he made an out the other 70% of his ABs. Even if half of those are strikeouts, he's still batting .300. I'm not very familar with Benson, but from reading posts, Benson apparently has good power and speed on the bases (limiting discussion to offense only). Thus it sounds as if a realistic potential is 20 HR and 40 more extra base hits, many of which are a result of his speed and aggressively running the bases. That would result in a solid SLG. It wouldn't take very many walks for a .300 BAVG and the SLG referenced above to yield a more than acceptable OPS--and that with a very high strikeout rate. There have been some very accomplished (and acclaimed) hitters that struck-out often. I caution against getting hung-up on strikeouts. Take a step back and evaluate him holistically, not just on one statistic.

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