In American Association Daily, the Minor League Sports Report’s Robert Pannier discusses a new father-son duo in the American Association, as infielder T.J. Bennett joins the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, joining his father, Jim Bennett, who was named the team’s manager two weeks ago.
T.J. Bennett returns to Fargo-Moorhead to Join Father
Last year, the Cleburne Railroaders created a lot of buzz when former Major League Baseball star Rafael Palmeiro came out of retirement to join the Texas team. Not only was it a big deal because Palmeiro was once one of the most feared hitters in the game, but also because his son Patrick joined him in Cleburne.
The father-son combo put up pretty solid numbers. The elder Palmeiro hit .301 with 6 homers and 21 RBI in an injury plagued season. Patrick hit .255 with 9 homers and 48 RBI in 97 games.
Both will be returning this season, however, they will not be the only father-son duo in the American Association. Not after T.J. Bennett signed with RedHawks on Monday, joining his father Jim, who was named the manager of the team two weeks ago.
A Father’s Story
How Jim Bennett came to Fargo-Moorhead is an interesting story. His son was traded to the RedHawks from Lincoln early in the off-season, but his contract was later purchased by the Chicago White Sox.
Despite his son moving back to affiliate ball, Jim continued to follow the RedHawks on social media, discovering that the team had a managerial opening when Michael Schlact was signed to be the pitching coach at Colorado Springs (Milwaukee Brewers). He applied for the job and was chosen out of a group of extremely worthy candidates.
The Return of the Son
T.J. Bennett started 2018 with the San Francisco Giants, but joined the Lincoln Saltdogs after being released. He proved to be a huge addition for the club, hitting .271 with 11 homers and 39 RBI in 57 games. Bennett also posted an impressive .367 on-base percentage and .844 OPS.
The younger Bennett joins a deep infield. Not only are shortstop Yhoxian Medina and third baseman Leobaldo Pina returning, but so is first baseman Chris Jacobs, who hit 12 homers last season, and Derrick Fox, who can play virtually any position on the diamond. Infielder Cody Regis also joins the team from Rockland (Can-Am League), where he blasted 22 homers last season.
With the addition of Bennett, this makes for a very deep roster and it is going to be interesting to see how the new manager is able to keep all of these players happy. Jacobs will likely be the team’s primary designated hitter and Fox will see most of his time in the outfield. That should set Pina at third, Regis at first, Bennett at second, and Medina at short – quite a potent offense for sure.
The outfield is no slouch either. Tim Colwell hit .320 with stole 24 bases. Devin Ahart clubbed 11 homers while hitting .295 in 99 games. Brennan Metzger was an on-base machine, hitting .282 with 62 walks and 76 runs scored. Finally, Jayce Ray was acquired, who is coming off a .279, 52 run, 55 RBI season for Sussex County (Can-Am League). This group not only can hit, but all of them play exceptional defense as well. On paper, this is the most brutal lineup in the North Division of the American Association.
Unfortunately, the father-son duo in Cleburne did not produce spectacular results last season for the Railroaders. In Fargo-Moorhead, there is no doubt that this tandem could lead their team to the American Association title.
Featured Image Courtesy of Lincoln Saltdogs
By Robert Pannier