- Full name Joaquín Antonio Benoit
- Born 07/26/1977 in Santiago, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 250 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 08/08/2001
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Rangers keep waiting for Benoit's breakthrough year, but so far it has been in vain. After turning in a strong Arizona Fall League performance in 2000, he failed to build on it. He did set a career high for innings in 2001, which wasn't hard considering he was sidelined by nagging injuries through his first three full seasons in the United States. When Benoit throws strikes with his plus fastball and slider, he can be overpowering. He devours righthanded hitters with the slider, holding them to a .216 average in 2001. He also has an above-average changeup. Benoit likes to work high in the strike zone, sometimes too high. He still walks too many batters, and he has a bad habit of showing up umpires when he's displeased by their calls. He tends to shut himself down at the first sign of soreness, which makes it difficult for him to maintain his consistency. There have been some concerns that his delivery could lead to more serious arm problems. Benoit will be just 22 on Opening Day, but it's time for him to step forward after six years in the organization. Slated to open 2002 in Triple-A, he could crack the Texas rotation later in the year if he pitches to his potential.
Former international scouting director Omar Minaya left the Rangers to become Mets assistant GM in September 1997, but his legacy endures. Minaya, who also signed Sammy Sosa, found Benoit, then a skinny righthander, in the Dominican Republic in 1996. Now 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Benoit looks like a pitcher. When he gets to the mound, he operates like a pitcher. He has a plus fastball and a sharp slider. He held opponents to a .237 batting average in the offense-mad Texas League last season. Getting Benoit to the mound has been the problem because he's protective of his body and worries about every twinge. His most serious injury was a strained elbow that didn't require surgery in 1998. Benoit has pitched more than 100 innings only once, and his command suffers from the erratic work. He also needs to work on his changeup to be more effective against lefthanders, who hit .308 off him in 2000. Benoit pitched well in the Arizona Fall League. He needs to put together a full and healthy season to move away from the tease category.
Minor League Top Prospects
Benoit wasn't a huge favorite among PCL managers, but the Rangers have to be excited about his 157 innings of work as he moved from Double-A to make his big league debut. He had shown great stuff but never had thrown more than 105 innings in a season. Benoit has a fastball than can reach the mid-90s as well as an above-average slider. His other pitches and command need work, but he appeared to get better as the season wore on. His last PCL effort was a 12-strikeout, three-hit shutout over Memphis. Those who doubt Benoit's long-term value say he leaves too many balls over the heart of the plate and might not develop the command necessary to get advanced hitters out.