Yankees sign John Van Benschoten


Via Baseball America, the Yankees have signed former Pirates’ first rounder John Van Benschoten to a minor league contract. JVB led Division I with 31 homers as an outfielder in 2001, so when Pirates drafted him 8th overall that year (three spots after the Rangers took Mark Teixeira), they naturally stuck him on the mound. Makes sense, right? Sure, he closed for Kent State, but back then the Pirates were the only team that liked him better on the mound.

JVB went on to be named the team’s top prospect in 2003 and 2004, and thrice appeared on BA’s Top 100 Prospects list. He managed to make it to the big leagues in 2004, and has posted a 9.20 ERA in 90 IP spread out among several stints in Pittsburgh. Among pitchers with at least 75 career innings, that is the worst ERA in the history. I’m not kidding. He’s also had surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff in both arms.

Who knows, maybe they’re putting a bat back in his hands?

Categories : Asides, Minors


  1. Joe D says:

    So much for a budget. Should have signed Damon.

  2. J.R. says:

    How old is this guy? And any idea where he will play (division or position)?

  3. rbizzler says:

    Oooh, an Ankiel-esque reclamation project. Sounds like fun, although it seems more likely that he will be fodder for the SWB ‘pen.

    I am blanking on the 5th starter in AAA as we know Z-mac, Nova, Hirsch and Kei are all slotted in. Who am I missing?

  4. Salty Buggah says:

    They signed him to make Igawa feel better

    • In all seriousness, I think the Yankees sign guys like JVB every year because they make a concerted effort to have winning teams at all levels of the minors. We want our prospects to experience winning as farmhands; we want them in the minor league playoffs.

      We want crappy big leaguers in Scranton who can dominate AAA lifers so that our prospects can have an easier go at it in the W/L standings.

      Just my hunch.

      (It would also explain why we kept Shelley Duncan and the Kei-man himself around long past their normal usefulness expiration dates.)

      • J.R. says:

        I’d say they kept Igawa around because he ate a ton of innings that no other guys in the system were ready for. I actually remember a story where they made Igawa pitch on short rest in the minors because the Yankees had taken so many arms that both the pen and the rotation was barren.

  5. Who knows, maybe they’re putting a bat back in his hands?

    JVB, minor league career:
    8 seasons, 164 plate appearances, .221/.302/.300

    Or not.

  6. pat says:

    Granted I only looked at the first three rounds, but outside of Mauer, Haren and maybe JJ Hardy, the 2001 draft looks pretty epically bad.

  7. I’m kind of bummed it wasn’t Matt “Fucking” Bush. East County, indeed.

  8. Cletus the Fetus says:

    Shit, which is worse his 9+ ERA or .221/.302/.300 in only 164 PAs? Give him a shot in the OF! Whats the worst that could happen? He rediscovers that 2001 form and hits another 31 homers in the minors, or he sucks at life and goes all Cody Ransom with the bat.

  9. Even with pat’s research fail, the 2001 draft is still pretty crappy for pitchers. Hard to argue with a group of Howard, Tex, Wright, Mauer for hitters, though. Best pick of the 2000 draft? Michael Vick, pick #887 of the 30th round. The team? The Colorado Rockies.

  10. Hangoverologist says:

    I was thinking about this a couple of days ago: Why is Noah Lowry still out there? Some team should be able to nab him and get him back into shape. Personally, I believe that the Yanks should pick him up on minor league deal and let him work himself back into shape. If he sucks, we can absorb the contract and release him.

  11. Double-J says:

    Fun fact: the head of the engineering dept. at my Uni was also named Van Benschoten, which is the only reason why I knew of this guy before this post. :P

  12. Rose says: (SAFE)

    Secretary of State, Vice President, President, Outfielder, Relief Pitcher…


Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.