Minor League Notes, May 26, 2011
**Minnesota Twins outfield prospect Joe Benson has had a nice run in his last 10 games for Double-A New Britain, hitting .321 and drawing five walks with five strikeouts in that span. On the season he's at .272/.361/.443 with an 18/44 BB/K in 158 at-bats, with 13 doubles, four homers, and six steals. Benson is one of the toolsiest players in the system, with double-digit potential in the homer/steal departments, but he's been held back by poor plate discipline through much of his career, struggling with recognition of breaking balls and changeups. I doubt he will ever hit for a high average, but even marginal improvements with his discipline could make him capable of hitting .250 with 20 homers and 15 steals in a full season. It seems like he's been around forever, but he's still just 23.
**The Cleveland Indians drafted outfielder LeVon Washington in the second round last year from Chipola Junior College in Florida. He'd turned down the Rays in the first round in '09. In high school and JC, he showed pure hitting skills with a quick bat, short swing, and good plate discipline. So far, that hasn't translated completely into pro ball: he's hitting just .192 with 18 strikeouts in his first 52 at-bats for Lake County in the Midwest League. Mitigating factors include nine walks, and the fact that we shouldn't draw broad conclusions over a 14-game sample. Scouts felt Washington was something of an enigma as an amateur, as the in-game results didn't always match the tools and skills they saw. We'll have to see if that pattern continues in pro ball.
**Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Shawn Tolleson is having an outstanding season in A-ball so far. He started off with Great Lakes in the Midwest League, allowing just one unearned run in 15 innings, with a 33/4 K/BB, just eight hits allowed, collecting 10 saves. Promoted to High-A Rancho Cucamonga a couple of weeks ago, he's posted a 13/3 K/BB in 7.2 innings of work, allowing just two hits and one earned run. The right-handed Tolleson was drafted in the 30th round last year out of Baylor, where he had mixed results as a starter with a mediocre fastball. Used in relief as a pro, he's throwing harder now, 90-93 MPH, mixing in a good slider and a plus cut fastball. His control is sharp, and it looks like he could be a solid relief option up the ladder. Nice find for the 30th round.
**Cincinnati Reds prospect Daniel Corcino pitched just two innings in his most recent start for Low-A Dayton on May 23rd, but there's no injury involved: his night was cut short by a rain delay. On the season, he has a 2.91 ERA with a 50/13 K/BB in 43 innings, 34 hits allowed, and has emerged as one of the top prospects in the Midwest League this year. He's a shorter guy at 5-11, but can hit the mid-90s, and has shown significant improvements with his slider and changeup this spring. A Dominican signed in 2008, Corcino is just 20 years old and this looks like a breakout season to me.