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Sunday, September 4, 2022

Erik Bennett had enough funkiness to make bigs in two seasons, later coach in minors

Upon Erik Bennett joining the Twins in spring 1996, Minnesota manager Tom Kelly thought Bennett would be able to make it with the big club, according to The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Bennett had briefly seen the Angels the previous May and hoped for more with Twins.

"Bennett looks like he's got enough funkiness and enough of a fastball that he'll be able to get people out," Kelly told The Star Tribune.

Bennett did have enough to make the big club that year and see 24 outings. He then had enough to teach others, as he became a longtime minor league pitching coach.

Bennett's career began in 1989, taken by the Angels in the fourth round of the draft out of Sacramento State.

Bennett started with the Angels at short-season Bend. He went 6-8, with a 3.47 ERA in 15 starts. He then made single-A Quad City in 1990 and high-A Palm Springs in 1991, though shoulder surgery cut short his 1991 campaign.

Bennett returned for 21 starts in 1992, including seven at AA Midland. He returned to Midland to start 1993 and talked numbers and focus with The Odessa American.

"I try not to get into numbers, I just try to stay ahead of the hitters," Bennett told The American

Bennett made AAA Vancouver for 18 outings, 12 starts in 1993. He then payed there for all of 1994. In May, he got called up to Anaheim. He saw one outing, recording one out, a fly out to center.

After signing with the Twins for 1996, Bennett saw 24 relief outings. He picked up two sins, but ended with a 7.90 ERA.

Bennett continued playing in the minors and independent ball through 2001, last playing for independent Chico.

By 2003, he had started his coaching career, back with the Angels as pitching coach at single-A Cedar Rapids. He made AA Arkansas in 2007 and then found a home at AAA Salt Lake, where he coached for more than a decade.

Bennett explained his role at AAA to in 2009.

"The coaching at the lower levels is more mechanical and requires more attention on the player's technique," Bennett explained to then. "The higher you go, you refine your stuff to more game situations and sequences of your pitches. So by the time they get here [Triple-A], the mechanical stuff is pretty well taken care of. It is basic maintenance right now with these guys."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,018
Made the Majors:1,338-33.3%-X
Never Made Majors:2,680-66.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
10+ Seasons in the Minors:331

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