This Reds prospect is not the answer to replace Will Benson in the outfield

Reds outfield prospect Rece Hinds looks like the second coming of Will Benson, and not in a good way.

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Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

Coming into the year, most Cincinnati Reds fans expected outfielder Will Benson to take a step forward after such a strong showing in 2023. He'd been an important piece of the Reds' lineup last year, showing better plate discipline, good power, and great speed on the base paths en route to a .275/.365/.498 slash line.

Through the first three months of 2024, Benson has fallen well off last year's pace in just about every area. He's walking less, making less contact overall, and his 40.2% strikeout rate is worst among qualified hitters by a considerable margin.

Worse still, Benson has cratered in the month of June. In 55 plate appearances this month, he's floundered to a .143/.204/.204 line with just 2 extra base hits. That line is good for an 11 wRC+, an absolutely dismal mark.

Reds' outfielder Will Benson has struggled mightily in 2024

Benson is putting the Reds' brass in a tough spot. At this level of performance, they might be better off optioning him to Triple-A Louisville to try to get him back on his feet. He does have two minor-league options left, so they wouldn't have to put his roster spot in jeopardy if they choose to do so.

If the Reds do inevitably option him, there are a couple prospects who might make sense to get called up. They could go back to Jacob Hurtubise, or try Peyton Burdick or Blake Dunn again (once he returns from the IL). One outfielder who unfortunately doesn't fit the mold is Rece Hinds.

Hinds has had some previous success in the minor leagues. The former second-round pick had a strong showing at Double-A Chattanooga last year, hitting 23 homers and swiping 20 bags in 109 games.

Cincy should not replace Will Benson with Reds prospect Rece Hinds

However, through nearly 300 plate appearances at Triple-A in 2024 Hinds looks a lot more like Benson than anyone would like to admit.

Hinds is running a 38.9% strikeout rate and a dismal .292 OBP right now. He's still hitting for a bit of power and has the ability to steal plenty of bags, but the plate discipline has gone into the tank.

If the Reds were to call up Hinds, chances are high that the plate discipline would be a problem against major league pitching. Hitters typically see an increase in their strikeout rates when jumping from Triple-A to the majors but with such a high K% in Louisville already, Hinds might be even worse than Benson in Cincinnati.

Regardless of who they opt to go with, the Reds need to find a way to get Benson's bat out of the lineup. He's struggling too much and clearly needs a break to reset and get his rhythm back. Plus, the Reds can't afford to have the dead spot in the lineup each night while they're fighting to stay in the postseason hunt.

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