Cincinnati Reds outfielder Will Benson was 1-for-20 with one walk and 12 strikeouts in the first eight games in which he appeared this season.
Fans on social media were losing patience, and the Reds sent Benson to Triple-A Louisville for about one month.
Since May 26, Benson is 18-for-49 (.367) with 11 walks and just seven Ks, two triples and one very memorable first big-league home run, a walk-off HR against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this month.
A first-round pick in 2016, Benson made his Major League debut last year for Cleveland. He made the Reds’ Opening Day roster after impressing in camp, and overcame a slow start to contribute significantly as the Reds made their climb in the National League Central standings.
Five things to know about Benson, who turned 25 on June 16:
Benson came to the Reds in a February trade with Cleveland.
The Guardians sent Benson to Cincinnati for outfield prospect Justin Boyd, a second-round pick of the Reds in the 2022 draft who has hit .150 in 46 plate appearances this season for Cleveland’s High-A affiliate in Lake County.
The Reds sent Steve Hajjar to Cleveland in March to complete the trade. Hajjar, acquired by the Reds last August with Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand for pitcher Tyler Mahle, has pitched 3 1/3 innings so far for Lake County.
Benson was selected 14th overall in 2016.
Benson has three current Reds teammates who also were first-round selections in 2016.
Cincinnati selected Nick Senzel second overall in that draft.
The New York Mets selected pitcher Justin Dunn 19th. Dunn is rehabbing from a major shoulder injury suffered last year.
The Pittsburgh Pirates took Nick Lodolo 41st overall, but he did not sign with them out of high school. The Reds chose Lodolo seventh overall in 2019, after he pitched for TCU.
Benson is fast, versatile and a talented basketball player.
Benson has stolen four bases in his first 28 games with the Reds, and his sprint speed last year and this year has ranked in the top 10 percent of the league.
He’s played all three outfield positions for the Reds, mostly in right and left with one start in center.
And what about his effort? From @BallySportsCIN via Twitter:
And if he hadn’t signed with Cleveland out of Atlanta’s Westminster High School in 2016, he was committed to Duke University and intended to walk onto the Blue Devils’ basketball team.
Benson started walking more and striking out less in Columbus in 2022.
Benson posted some big strikeout numbers for several minor-league teams between 2016 and 2021. But in 2022 at Triple-A Columbus, he had 75 walks and 91 strikeouts in 401 plate appearances. His .426 on-base percentage was the best of his minor-league career.
Benson got to celebrate his first Father’s Day as a dad with his wife and son as the Reds completed a sweep of Houston.
After reaching base five times in the Reds’ 10-3 win Saturday, Benson talked to Bally Sports’ Jim Day about enjoying his first Father’s Day as a dad.
“It’s such a blessing,” Benson told Day. “It’s everything I dreamt of, everything I wanted in life. To have my first Father’s Day, right? And to see my son, to see my wife. It just makes my heart happy. It brings me a lot of joy, for sure.”
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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati outfielder Will Benson: Five things to know