4 biggest X-factors heading into the Reds 2023 season

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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3. Reds biggest X-factors in 2023: Will Benson, outfielder

The Cincinnati Reds traded what amounted to two second-round draft picks for outfielder Will Benson. The Reds swung a deal with the Guardians earlier this spring and sent both Justin Boyd and Steve Hajjar to Cleveland in exchange for Benson.

This trade the potential to pay huge dividends for the Reds or it could blow up in their face. Benson had been a prospect in the Guardians farm system for quite sometime. Cleveland drafted Benson in Round 1 back in 2016, but he didn't debut until last season and only appeared in 28 games.

Benson hit just .182/.250/.200, but that was in 55 at-bats in what was largely a reserve role for the Guardians near the tail-end of last season. Prior to his call-up, Benson slashed .279/.426/.522 with 40 extra-base hits.

Benson may not necessarily hit for average, but he should reach base at a good clip. If the adjustments he made last season come through during his first extended action in the big leagues, the Cincinnati Reds might really have something to build on.

Will Benson brings speed to the base paths, the ability to play all three outfield spots, and a left-handed power-bat. All three of those things will see him find plenty of playing time this season. How he produces at the dish will be the difference between Benson being a key bat in the heart of the order or a fourth outfielder off the bench. Benson certainly fits the mold of an X-factor in 2023.