According to the White Sox transaction log, the team has agreed to a minor-league deal with Wes Benjamin, a left-handed pitcher from the Rangers organization, and Patrick Kivlehan, an outfielder most recently in the Padres organization. Both players were assigned to AAA Charlotte upon being signed, according to their player pages.
Here’s a little bit more about each player:
Wes Benjamin, LHP
Benjamin, 28, was drafted out of Kansas University in the 5th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. He worked his way through the system with Texas, eventually making his major league debut at the age of 26 in 2020. He threw 22.1 innings that season, going 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA. He would once again pitch in the majors in 2021 but would take a major step back, posting a 8.74 ERA in 22.2 innings. He had experienced decent minor league success before reaching AAA, posting sub-4.00 ERAs at all levels before reaching AAA.
Benjamin features a four-pitch mix: Fastball, Cutter, Curveball, and Changeup. He features above-average movement on his fastball and curveball but doesn’t feature a true “strikeout pitch,” with his strikeout rate at just 19% in his career and the highest whiff rate of any of his pitches at just 20.9% (Cutter).
However, two above-average pitches might be all that Ethan Katz and the White Sox need to turn Benjamin into an effective pitcher. He has both starter and reliever experience, and with the White Sox looking for effective long-relief arms, perhaps Benjamin might be able to make an impact at the major league level. In order to do so, however, it will require him primarily to improve his command, as his walk rate in the majors sits at 11.4%. He does have some interesting stuff though, so it’s worth keeping tabs on him.
Patrick Kivlehan, OF
Kivlehan, now 32, was originally signed in the 2012 MLB Draft in the fourth round by the Seattle Mariners. Over the course of nine professional seasons, he has amassed 250 PAs at the major league level, slashing .208/.308/.398 with 10 homers and 30 runs driven in. This serves as a stark contrast from his minor league numbers, which sit at a combined .278/.342/.491 with 155 homers in eight seasons. He was also selected to play for Team USA during the Tokyo Olympics.
Prior to signing with the White Sox, Kivlehan spent time with the Mariners, Padres, Rangers, Reds, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, and Pirates. So, he’s been around a bit, as is common for a 32-year-old journeyman. Kivlehan no doubt has some power – his hard-hit rate at the major league level has been as high as 42.9% in a season. However, his career 32.4% K-rate puts him at a disadvantage. With the difference in numbers between AAA and MLB, it appears Kivlehan is meant to serve as minor league depth and likely won’t compete for a spot on the roster in many other scenarios.
Follow us @SoxOn35th for more updates throughout the offseason!
Featured Image: MLB Trade Rumors / Twitter