MATT BENEDICT, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: February 3, 1989
Drafted: 30th Round, 902nd Overall, 2011
How Acquired: Draft
College: Western Carolina University
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Despite the very different ERAs and W/L records, Bendict’s junior and senior years were very similar. Baseball America rated him the 42nd best prospect in North Carolina and also stated that he was throwing 89-92 in instructionals, with an average curve and a change with some potential. As a senior, he signed quickly, as expected.
Posted solid numbers at State College, except for a very low K rate. He succeeded by allowing just one HR and 15 walks. He did better against left-handed than right-handed batters; the former hit .233 against him, the latter .303.
Benedict opened 2012 in the rotation at West Virginia and in the early going was nearly the only pitcher on the staff getting anybody out. He pitched well for the Power, albeit with a low K rate, until late June, when the Pirates moved him up to Bradenton. The move didn’t work out at all, as Benedict got torched in nearly every start. The Pirates nevertheless stuck with him until August, when he moved to the bullpen for five appearances. His numbers with the Marauders were bad across the board, as opponents hit .326 against him and he walked more than he struck out.
Benedict opened the season back in the Bradenton rotation and continued to struggle. The Pirates moved him to relief in early May and he continued to struggle until about mid-season, when he started pitching better. As a starter, in nine games, he went 0-6, 4.98, and opponents hit .349 against him. As a reliever, he went 3-3-5, 3.35, and opponents hit .265 against him. His K rate, which was extremely low as a starter, improved in relief, but was still low.
The Pirates moved Benedict up to Altoona, where he pitched in relief. He put up poor numbers across the board and was a prime culprit in a year-long Curve habit of blowing late-inning leads. The Pirates sent Benedict down to Bradenton in early July, but brought him back up late in the month. He did pitch much better after returning to AA.
Benedict did a lot of traveling during the season. He opened in Altoona, but after one game was sent down to Bradenton, where he made six starts and one relief appearance. He then got sent to Indianapolis for a fill-in start, then went back to Altoona, where he pitched mostly in the rotation until the end of the season, when he made another fill-in start in AAA. Through it all, he remained pretty much the same pitcher, not walking or striking out many, and generally getting hit fairly hard. His stuff played well in high A, but opponents hit .320 against him in AA. His AA numbers were inflated, though, by a pair of terrible starts in which he “took one for the team.” In the two games, the team left him in to give up 21 runs, all earned, and 27 hits in nine and two-thirds innings. Oddly, he followed the first of those starts — 12 ER in 4.2 IP — by throwing seven shutout innings his next time out. Such is the life of a finesse pitcher and an organizational player.
The Pirates always seem to have liked Benedict even though the results generally haven’t been there. He’s been very helpful to them, though, filling whatever role happened to be open in high A and AA, and now in AAA. He’ll be eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the second time but isn’t a candidate to be selected. He won’t be a minor league free agent for another two years, so he’ll probably be back filling the same role in 2016.
|2016: Minor league contract.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2012
MiLB FA Eligible: 2017
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 7, 2011: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the round, overall pick; signed on June 13, 2011.|