Competition breeds success, and the Cincinnati Reds roster is evidence of that. Time and time again this season, Reds fans have seen some out of this world-type of performance from some unexpected sources.
Will Benson is the latest Reds player to see the writing on the wall, and the 24-year-old outfielder is doing his darnedest to avoid being part of the upcoming Reds roster crunch.
Benson went 3-for-3 and was on base five times in the Reds victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday afternoon. Cincinnati has now won seven straight games, and Benson is a big reason why.
Will Benson is making his case to survive the upcoming Reds roster crunch.
Will Benson was traded from the Cleveland Guardians to the Cincinnati Reds prior to the start of the 2023 season. After going 1-for-21 to begin the season, Reds Country let out a collective groan, assuming that Cleveland's front office had swindled Cincinnati out of two second-round draft picks.
But after hitting the reset button during his month-long excursion at Triple-A, Benson has returned with a vengeance. According FanGraphs, Benson is hitting .383/.482/.552 with a wRC+ of 179 since returning to the Reds roster in late-May.
The biggest difference for Benson has been his plate discipline. Benson owned a 4.8-percent walk-rate and 57.1-percent strikeout-rate prior to the Reds optioning him to Triple-A. Upon his return, Benson's walk-rate is up to 16.1-percent and his strikeout-rate is just 12.5-percent.
The roster crunch is coming. Joey Votto, Wil Myers, and Jake Fraley are nearing their return from the IL, and Will Benson is one of the Cincinnati Reds young players who has minor league options remaining.
But, Benson, being a left-handed hitter, along with his speed on the base paths and current approach to hitting, may be virtually untouchable when it comes to sending players down to Triple-A. T.J. Hopkins, Stuart Fairchild, and even Kevin Newman may be more likely options at this point.