I’m sure most of you have heard by now that Will Benson hit 4 home runs on Thursday night. Against the South Bend Cubs, Benson hit a two run homer in the first inning. In the third he hit a solo shot. In the fourth he hit a grand slam. Some said this was his best at bat of the season. Benson worked the count full. He fouled a total of six pitches during the at bat. On the tenth pitch of his plate appearance he hit the grand slam. In the sixth he hit another solo shot. In his final at bat, Benson worked a full count again, before finally striking out. Along with the 4 home runs Benson had 8 RBIs.
Benson’s huge night was really a culmination of what he has been doing so far this season. He is currently batting .341 with a .431 OBP and a .864 slugging percentage. That makes his OPS an astronomical 1.295. He has 3 doubles, 1 triple, 6 homers and 14 RBI in just 12 games. He also has 7 walks, 4 stolen bases and an amazing 38 total bases. He has 19 strikeouts so far, which puts his strikeout percentage at 37 percent. It’s obviously still too high buts it’s really hard to argue with the results.
This is Benson’s fourth year with the Tribe. His low batting averages and high strikeout percentages have tempered some of the enthusiasm about Benson’s future as a potential major leaguer. However if you look a little more closely at some of the numbers it’s easy to see Benson is still a big time 5 tool prospect.
Last year, Benson’s batting average was an abysmal .180. This followed up seasons of .239 and .209 the previous two seasons. Hardly big time numbers. However Benson had a horrific .218 BAPIP last season. The low BAPIP shows that Benson was somewhat unlucky last year. He also drew 82 walks which was third in the league and pushed his walk rate to a career best 16.2 percent. Benson also had 22 home runs, was named to the All star team and finished the season strong by earning player of the week honors the final week of the regular season.
Benson is 6’5″ and 220 pounds. He is still a big time athlete with a big arm and good speed. Everyone says he has a great work ethic and is a good teammate as well. When the Indians drafted Benson much was written about him being a talented but raw prospect. It is not surprising he has had consistently low batting averages and high strikeout rates early in his career. Again, he was very raw when he was drafted and very young as well. Add in all the pressure of high expectations from being a number 1 draft pick and really I’m almost surprised his numbers weren’t worse. Baseball is a hard game. Learning to hit is the hardest part of that game for position players. After three seasons of hard work and great coaching Benson is starting to see some results. I will take whatever the future holds for a great athlete, with an excellent work ethic who is also receiving tremendous coaching. Benson is just that guy. I can’t wait to see what he does next.