Minor League Review: Ben Kline Hitting Out of His Mind

By Robbie Knopf

When the Rays drafted Ben Kline in the 32nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft, I asked whether he would ever regain his hitting stroke. The answer to that question sure looks like yes.

Kline has just started his pro career, but it’s awfully hard to find any players starting as well as this. Kline, 23, was sent by the Rays to their lowest-level team in America, the Rookie GCL Rays, although the Gulf Coast League is known as a pitchers’ league. But you can throw all the disclaimers out the window. In 8 games for the GCL Rays, Kline has hit .607! His triple slash is .607/.621/.857. That’s pretty good. He has drilled 4 doubles and 1 homer, driven in 3, and stolen 5 out of 7 bases. He hasn’t struck out a single time! What in the world has gotten into this guy? And by the way, he has also done that while playing three positions, shortstop, second base, and left field. Not too shabby.

I’m not so sure the Rays found a player who will hit .600 in the big leagues someday, but Kline has really found something right now, and don’t be surprised if he’s promoted to a higher level (probably the more advanced Rookie team in Princeton) very soon to see just how good he is. Ben Kline is a long way from proving anything in terms of his long-term ability. But he was a sleeper to begin with a player with the ability to vastly outperform his draft slot. We’ll have to watch Kline moving forward and see if can translate his incredible start into a nice professional career.