There’s not much going on in the upper minors with regards to name-brand pitching prospects, but non-roster invitee Wes Benjamin is doing his damndest to make people notice him in Charlotte. Benjamin threw six shutout innings at Truist Field on Wednesday to lower his ERA to 1.17 on the season, with 26 strikeouts over 23 innings.
Benjamin, a St. Charles product and fifth-round pick of the Rangers back in 2014, fell out of favor in Texas after posting a 6.80 ERA over 21 appearances, including 17 walks over 22⅔ in 2021. He didn’t fare any better in Triple-A Round Rock, allowing 72 hits on top of 25 walks over 46⅔ innings, with an 8.29 ERA to show for it.
You don’t have to look that far back to find a similar story in Charlotte, as Mike Wright rose from similar ranks with the Knights last season to replacement-level results in Chicago. That said, pitching depth remains at a premium, and Benjamin has allowed just 19 baserunners over 23 innings while striking out 26 in four starts this year, which counts for something early on.
He told Jeff Cohen that he has a different arsenal, most notably using a sinker along with a four-seam fastball, which gives him a kitchen-sink approach.
The other starters who have thrown double-digit innings all have ERAs 6.75 or higher, so while his own numbers would stand out on any staff, the context only helps.
Charlotte 10, Jacksonville 1
- Yolbert Sánchez went 2-for-5 with two strikeouts.
- Carlos Pérez also was 2-for-5, but with a homer.
- Micker Adolfo, 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
- Adam Haseley homered, doubled, singled and struck out twice.
- Wes Benjamin continued to be the staff ace: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, lowering his ERA to 1.17.
Rocket City 9, Birmingham 8
- Lenyn Sosa homered, doubled, walked and struck out twice.
- Yoelqui Céspedes was 1-for-5.
- Jose Rodriguez also went 1-for-5, with a triple and a strikeout.
- Jason Bilous: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
Asheville 4, Winston-Salem 3
- Oscar Colás homered for the second straight game, part of a 2-for-4, one-strikeout night.
- Bryan Ramos and Adam Hackenberg both were 1-for-4 with a K.
- Luis Mieses, 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Harvin Mendoza went 1-for-4 with a homer and two strikeouts.
- Matthew Thompson: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 37 of 60 pitches for strikes.
*This Colás homer was to right field, which is 295 feet away in Asheville.
*Harvin Mendoza homered to right center, which is 320 feet.
Kannapolis 4, Fayetteville 2
- James Beard went 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and two strikeouts. He also stole his 12th base.
- Wilfred Veras struck out thrice during an 0-for-5 night.
- DJ Gladney went 0-for-3 with two walks and two strikeouts.
- Wes Kath, 0-for-3 with a walk and a K, and also committed three errors.
Another encouraging start for Thompson. Him taking the next step would be huge.
Isn’t there a decent Little League field in Asheville that they could use?
Our high school field is bigger than that. I can’t imagine pro players playing on it.
It’s a beautiful little park. Emphasis on both adjectives.
I’d love to do a baseball and barbecue tour of the southeast. That would be a good place to stop.
Is it a footprint issue or did they just think it’d be fun to have infield pop ups go out for homeruns?
Leadoff hitters across the 4 levels yesterday : 9 for 17, 11 RBIs
Another couple hits for Yolbert, each hit closer to replacing the sub-.100 hitting disaster duo of Harrison/Leury. It is quite an accomplishment to have two players that bad at the same position.
Someone finally woke up Adolfo! Yesterday’s game was his first without a strikeout and his first extra base hit of this year. Progress…?
Glad to see Thompson had another good outing. Lack of K’s is a bit surprising, but I won’t turn down another scoreless start.
That meant a lot of contact in that bandbox. It’s more impressive in that context.
I’ve never seen Wes Benjamin pitch, but I know I’d rather watch him than Vince Velasquez.
Ditto Cueto, for me. Maybe he doesn’t have much left, but I’d still rather give him a shot than watch VV.
Call up Benjamin and put Velasquez in LF for his defense and arm. Problems solved!
Colson Montgomery isn’t playing again, at least during the first game of the double header. I’m guessing he’s hurt or otherwise unavailable.