Reds' manager David Bell can no longer yield to Will Benson's request

Will Benson has proven one thing this year — he's not an everyday player.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Will Benson (30) reacts after a play
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Will Benson (30) reacts after a play / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds' manager David Bell had no problem using Nick Senzel as a platoon player in 2023, and the former first-round excelled hitting .348 with a 1.008 OPS against left-handed pitching. Senzel didn't necessarily enjoy sitting in the when a right-hander was on the bump, but it was best for the team. It's time for Bell to take the same approach with outfielder Will Benson.

After a poor start last season, Benson returned from a tuneup at Triple-A Louisville and was one of Cincinnati's best hitters over the second-half of the season. A lot was expected from the former Cleveland Guardians farmhand this season, and heading into spring training, Benson made it clear that his desire was to become an everyday player.

Bell acquiesced and has given Benson numerous chances against southpaws this season. But the results have been poor at best with Benson hitting just .118/.231/.265. A .456 OPS is nowhere near good enough to warrant playing Benson against lefties, and the practice needs to end.

Reds' manager David Bell can no longer yield to Will Benson's request

Some of this is not of Benson's making. While the outfielder has received increased chances against left-handers, especially earlier this season, a barrage of injuries have thrust the outfielder into situations he's obviously not cut out for. When the likes of TJ Friedl, Tyler Stephenson, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand were out of commission, Benson was relied upon and wasn't up to the task.

Jake Fraley is in the same boat. While the Reds' right fielder is one of the team's best bats against right-handed pitching, Bell oftentimes sits Fraley against lefties or removes him late in games in favor of a pinch hitter. The same line of thinking should apply to Benson, as his OPS jumps nearly 250 points against right-handed pitchers.

Many Reds fans will claim that Benson will never learn how to hit against left-handers if he's not given the opportunity. Though that may be true, that type of instruction needs to take place during batting practice, not during a game.

The Reds are over a month into the season and have been floundering of late. It's time for the Reds to call-up Blake Dunn from Triple-A Louisville as a platoon option against left-handed pitching. Dunn is hitting .300/.364/.600 against lefties this season, and would be the perfect compliment to both Benson and Fraley. It's time for Benson to return to a part-time role.

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