After being undrafted out of Michigan State in 2021, Sam Benschoter signed with the Cincinnati Reds and threw 9.0 innings between the Arizona Complex League and Daytona Tortugas before the season came to an end.

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When 2022 began the Reds sent the right-handed pitcher to Single-A Daytona to join the Tortugas. Early in the season Cincinnati had the Tortugas operating with a piggy-back pitcher system where guys would start one week then pitch several innings of relief (all in the same game) the next week. Sam Benschoter’s first game of the year came out of the bullpen and he had some struggles as he allowed five hits and three runs in 2.2 innings against St. Lucie. Over the next month he settled in, giving up just eight hits in 20.0 innings, walking six and striking out 31 while posting a 2.25 ERA in that stretch.

On May 13th he had a hiccup against Clearwater, giving up four runs in 4.0 innings of relief, but got back on track in his next two outings. But on June 1st he didn’t record an out in the 3rd inning, walking the first batter of the inning and then leaving the game with an injury. He wouldn’t get back on the mound for six weeks before a 2-week rehab stint out in Arizona at the complex. Benschoter returned to join Daytona on July 29th and was dominant, posting a 2.81 ERA in 16.0 innings over four games while walking six batters and striking out 31.

The Reds had seen enough and promoted him to join High-A Dayton where he joined the Dragons rotation on August 23rd. The righty picked up where he had left off, posting a 2.57 ERA in his first three starts, walking just four and striking out 20 in 14.0 innings. He ran into some trouble in his final start for Dayton, allowing four runs in 2.2 innings on four hits and a walk. Nine days later he was in Double-A Chattanooga and made one final start to end the season, giving up six runs in 4.0 innings while walking and striking out four batters.

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Sam Benschoter Scouting Report

Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R

Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 223 lbs | Acquired: Undrafted FA (2021)

Born: March 17, 1998

Fastball | The fastball works in the 92-94 MPH range and topped out at 96 in 2022.

Change Up | A below-average offering that works in the upper 80’s.

Slider | An above-average offering that works in the low-to-mid 80’s.

Curveball | An above-average offering that works in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.

In college, over parts of five seasons at Michigan State, Sam Benschoter racked up a bunch of strikeouts, kept the ball in the park, but also had an ERA of 6.97. He would flash quality stuff, but his performance wasn’t all that strong. There were times in his first full season that he was dominant, but he did have a few hiccups along the way.

Benschoter will turn 25 during spring training, so he’s certainly one of the older pitchers who were in A-ball for the Reds last season. That’s working against him as he will need to likely move a bit quicker than many of his teammates from last season. But he’s also a guy who has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues – his success wasn’t simply him being older and using his experience to his advantage against younger players.

His slider and his curveball both show themselves as above-average pitches and he put them to work in his time in the Florida State League in 2022. Among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched, both of his breaking balls had the highest whiff rates in the league. There were only four pitches among the group of 70 pitchers who threw at least 50 innings in the league with a whiff rate of at least 30% and both his curveball and slider were there.

His future likely lies in the bullpen. That’s where he can likely drop the change up – which is easily his worst offering – and focus on the breaking balls and fastball. In shorter outings his stuff may even play up.


Interesting Stat on Sam Benschoter

When no one was on base he held hitters to a .161/.266/.253 line. When runners were on, opposing hitters had a .317/.375/.480 line against him.

15 Responses

  1. AllTheHype

    Apparently he can’t replicate his stuff as well from the stretch. If he can figure that out, maybe he can turn a few more heads.

  2. Bdh

    Love the strikeout numbers here. He’s one of the Reds starters in the minors that I think will turn out to be a successful reliever at the highest level in a couple of seasons. Part of your 2025 NL Central champion Reds!

    C – Stephenson
    1B – Encarnacion-Strand
    2B – Steer
    SS – Arroyo
    3B – Marte
    LF – Fraley
    CF – De La Cruz
    RF – Collier
    DH – India

    B – Vellojin – catcher
    B – Friedl – 4th OF
    B – McLain – IF/OF
    B – Solak – IF/OF (Fraley platoon)

    SP – Lodolo
    SP – Greene
    SP – Abbott
    SP – Ashcraft
    SP – Phillips/Williamson

    CP – Diaz
    RP – Antone
    RP – Santillan
    RP – Boyle
    RP – Sanmartin
    RP – Phillips/Williamson
    RP – Bonnin
    RP – Benschoter/Roa/Legumina/Stoudt/etc

    That’s probably a payroll under 45 million with internal options only. Spend some money in free agency even getting to around 100 million would really put a good team out there. Add a starting pitcher, a lefty bullpen arm, a catcher to move Stephenson to DH/1B, and another bench bat

    • Bdh

      Also think if the Reds are able to take one of the college outfielders that could be available at #7 (Bradfield, Langford) they could play into the 2025 team at some point as well

      • Bdh

        I have seen a couple mock drafts with the Reds taking Jacob Wilson. I know you were being sarcastic with the SS response and I’d much prefer an outfielder as well but Wilson’s bat is legit. Only 7 strike outs in 280ish plate appearances last year

  3. Billy

    Hoping Max Clark drops to 7. He’s the Cam Collier of this years draft. Polished approach at the plate and mature kid who loves the game.

  4. DaveCT

    Benschoter and that big curve could be a real nice addition in a long relief and spot starter role, and possible more, ie a 2-inning guy. If his fastball ticks up to the mid 90’s, I’d be pretty optimistic. One thing I like about him already being 25 is he could move pretty quickly and escape some of the growing pains young guys often experience. Even though we don’t have a trifecta of Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft in the minors, I do like the depth of the mid-level guys such as Benschoter, Aguiar, Rivera, Cooper, Parks, not to mention the higher level guys like Petty, Phillips, etc

    • Old Big Ed

      I like this guy, too. Age isn’t really a big factor for pitchers, especially relievers. Tejay Antone didn’t make MLB until age 26, and Alexis Diaz was 25 last year, having skipped AAA. They ran him through Arizona, Dayton, Daytona, Chattanooga and the Arizona Fall League last year, so they must like him.

      The “interesting stat” issue with runners on base seems to be something that can be fairly easily fixed. When nobody is on, his “windup” is just a modified stretch. He pretty clearly raises his left knee several inches higher out of the “modified” stretch than he does with a guy on base. He either needs to raise the knee the same height, or else find another mechanism to let him collect himself, while pitching with guys on base.

      • DaveCT

        With the new rule on throwing over to 1st base, I wonder if base runners are going to be running on the pitchers more anyway.

      • EyeballsInNooga

        I saw his start in Chattanooga at the end of the year. There was just not much there: control issues, and everything he threw over the plate, regardless of pitch type or count, was getting tagged. Even the outs were loud. I’ll chalk it up mostly to being a meaningless game at a new level at the end of a long season, but it’s fair to say he looked overmatched in a way that most guys don’t look in their first start in AA.

        And on the reliever side, Diaz in AA was almost a why-is-he-still-here look. Lots of bad swings. I wasn’t surprised that he was able to pitch effectively in MLB last year, albeit moderately surprised by the speed at which he turned into a legit back-end option.

        I suspect Benschoter will be back in AA, but 25 in AA is not a likely MLB starter. I’d be tempted to try him in the pen sooner rather than later.

  5. Old Big Ed

    Rob Wooten had been named the Daytona pitching coach, but announced that he was leaving organized ball and is apparently taking a high school job near his residence. Likely a family decision, and more power to him for that.

    I suppose there is no shortage of good young pitching coaches, or at least people who think that they are good young pitching coaches, who will want the job. But it does seem to be a bit late in the offseason to have to find a replacement.

    • Doug Gray

      There could be internal options. With the ACL Reds having two pitching coaches they may just move one up to Daytona and have one in Arizona.

      • Old Big Ed

        I don’t think we have to worry about Jason Broussard or any other hitting coach leaving Daytona this year, given the offensive potential that Daytona figures to have.