No one on the entire Cincinnati Reds roster struggled more than Will Benson to begin the 2023 season. Don't forget, Benson began his first year in Cincinnati by going 1-for-21 with 12 strikeouts.
The former Cleveland Guardians farmhand, who burst onto the scene during spring training, fell flat on his face during the first two weeks of the season. That resulted in a very humbling experience for Benson - he was optioned back to the minor leagues.
The former first-round pick spent time at Triple-A Louisville working on his craft, and eventually, Benson was recalled back the big leagues in May. His improvements helped to secure his roster spot moving foward, and Benson looks like a key piece of the Reds outfield moving forward.
Reds report card: Grading Will Benson's triumphant 2023 season
The Cincinnati Reds needed Will Benson to be that player that was turning heads in Goodyear. Benson was traded to Cincinnati shortly before spring training began. In exchange, the Reds packaged Steve Hajjar and Justin Boyd, and sent them to Cleveland. So far, this looks like another win for the Reds front office.
Benson's big moment came during a homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers. With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth inning on June 7th, Benson launched his first-ever major league home run into the seats in right field of Great American Ball Park.
Benson looked toward the dugout, spiked the bat, jogged around the bases, and was mobbed by his teammates at home plate. From that moment on, Benson developed a connection with the Reds fanbase. His exuberance was infectious, and the way he plays the game of baseball is exactly what the Cincinnati faithful love to see.
Benson showed power and speed during his first year with the Reds, but the 25-year-old also displayed a keen eye at the dish (12.2-percent walk-rate) and played solid defense. While Benson can play all three outfield spots, according to FanGraphs, it appears as though right field (1 DRS) is where he shines.
If you wanted to pick apart any aspect of Will Benson's game, I guess you could point to lack of success against left-handers. Of course, he had very limited opportunities, going 6-for-41 against southpaws. If Benson wants to become an everyday player in 2024, that's an area for him to work on.