Benitez signed with the Cardinals for $320K in July of 2016. Now 19-years-old, he spent the last two summers in the DSL and is currently stateside for Extended Spring Training.
He’s a large-bodied 6-foot-4, built with a thick frame that’s soft through the middle but very strong. It’s the type of body that either is going to firm up and throw harder, or could get wider and lose athleticism. The fastball works 89-to-92 mph, sitting at 90-91 mph, with inconsistent life that flattens at times. His command and secondary are similarly inconsistent, showing flashes of depth on a low-70s curve at times while casting a loopy, slow roller with poor action when he doesn’t finish the pitch with armspeed. A mid-80s changeup is similarly off-and-on, showing glimpses of late fade but lacking separation and playing more like a two-seam fastball right now.
Benitez’ size and chance to grow into more fastball velocity make him a follow, but there’s not enough here for a full-on prospect grade right now. He’s young enough to take a jump if he can get in better shape and the stuff improves accordingly.