Wes Benjamin, the lefthanded pitcher who broke camp with the Texas Rangers in 2021, has signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox, it was announced.
Benjamin, 28, was a fifth round pick out of the Rangers in 2014 out of the University of Kansas. Benjamin missed much of the 2014 college season, and almost all of 2015, due to Tommy John surgery, though once he was healthy he made a slow but steady climb up the organizational ladder.
Benjamin seemed like an organizational soldier type for much of his time in the Rangers’ organization — he was a high makeup guy who knew how to pitch, but whose stuff wasn’t good enough to get him on the prospect map. After doing some work with pitch shaping after the 2019 season, however, he impressed in spring training and at the Alternate Training Site in 2020, ultimately getting a chance to pitch in the majors in 2020, putting up a 4.84 ERA in 22.1 innings over 8 games.
Benjamin was on the Rangers’ Opening Day roster in 2021, and was slated to be a tandem starter, but he was bedeviled by command issues early on and ended up getting sent down to AAA Round Rock. Benjamin spent most of 2021 shuttling between AAA and the majors and didn’t pitch well at either level, putting up an 8.29 ERA in Round Rock and an 8.74 ERA in Texas.
Benjamin was dropped from the 40 man roster after the season, making him a free agent. He now gets a fresh start in Chicago, where I’m guessing he will be in their AAA rotation. Benjamin is someone who needs very good command to succeed, and there’s an argument to be made that lack of consistency in his usage in 2021 contributed to his season-long command problems. Getting regular starts in AAA for the White Sox may give him a chance to get back on track.
Best of luck to Wes with his new squad.