The upside in Will Benson is easy to notice.
At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, he has a rare combination of size, power and speed, a package that led the Cleveland Indians to select him 14th overall in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.
Benson put his vast potential on full display April 18, blasting four home runs for Class-A Lake County in a 12–6 win over South Bend at Classic Park.
It wasn’t just the fact the 20-year-old accomplished a rare feat as the first Minor League player to homer four times in a game since 2014, but the majesty of each successive shot was more impressive than the last.
“Honestly, the only moment I could remember (from the game) was when (Tyler) Freeman said we still got a lot of game left,” Benson said. “I really wasn’t thinking about trying to hit home runs or anything. I was just trying to put together good at-bats.”
Benson is in his second season with the Captains, returning to Eastlake after hitting 22 home runs in 123 games in 2018. But he hit just .180 (75-for-416) with 152 strikeouts in 506 plate appearances.
Seeking consistency is all part of the development path for Benson, who was a multi-sport star athlete at Westminster High School in Atlanta.
Benson was set to attend Duke University prior to being drafted by Cleveland, and was going to walk on to the basketball team in addition to joining the Blue Devils on the diamond.
“Being able to actually go watch a Duke basketball practice was pretty crazy,” Benson said. “I didn’t realize it, but seeing the players that were there on the basketball team was pretty nuts. A lot of those guys are in the league now.”
Benson was a second-team All-State selection in basketball during his senior year, and his father, Ted, played basketball at Purdue.
But while he still has a passion for basketball, Benson opted to pursue baseball after his experience winning the 2015 WBSC U18 World Cup with Team USA.
“Ever since that moment I played on Team USA, just the overwhelming joy and fun I had playing with those guys overseas and then coming back, my love for baseball just continued to grow,” Benson said. “I mean, I still love basketball just as much, but I know the lord has a calling for me in baseball so that’s just where my path has taken me.”
With his full-time focus on baseball entering its third season, Benson is continuing to develop the intangibles and mental side of the game without the challenge of balancing two sports.
“It’s nice,” Benson said. “I’m starting to get a little baseball savvy, having a little more baseball knowledge. Baseball IQ does help a lot. I just try to gain it slowly. It’s been a fun process now that I enjoy, just having my sole focus on this because there’s a lot of development.”
Benson, who is hitting .241 (26–108) with 6 home runs and 23 RBI in 30 games for Lake County this season, has noticed a jump in his level of confidence as he becomes more and more experienced as a baseball player.
His goal this season is to remain confident through the ups and downs of a long season.
“Early on I questioned myself too much,” Benson said. “But I know I give myself the best shot if I go out there every day and be confident in what I’ve done in the offseason. I’m confident in my plan and my approach going into every game.
“If you’re around it enough, you’ll start to you like find yourself really engulfed in the whole thing. This past offseason, making my trips around, I was just trying to seek information and just trying to literally get better. Be a better Will Benson, be a better baseball player, and I’m very fortunate for the people that bless me with their time and their brains because it’s put me in this position now.”
Tribe prospect Will Benson continuing to grow with full-time focus on baseball was originally published in TribeVibe on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
from TribeVibe – Medium http://bit.ly/2WJnlrY