Red Sox Top Pick Andrew Benintendi Promoted

by Mark Gallant | Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2015
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In this year’s draft, the Red Sox selected the college player of the year, Arkansas’s Andrew Benintendi, with the seventh overall pick. After playing for the Lowell Spinners for just 35 games, Benintendi is already in need of a change in scenery, as the competition in the New York-Penn League just wasn’t tough enough for the outfielder. He will join the low-A Greenville Drive for the last two weeks of their season.

After putting up a mammoth season for the Razorbacks in which he led the nation with 20 home runs, Benintendi went from being an average DI baseball player to a first round stud. A high school standout in Ohio, Benintendi didn’t have all that impressive of a freshman season at Arkansas. Though his OBP was closing in on .400, he only had one home run and ten extra base hits. His sophomore season was another story, however, and his line of .376/.488/.717 helped propel him into the top ten of this year’s draft.

His transition to professional baseball wasn’t smooth in the beginning, though. Using a wood bat for the first time, Benintendi saw his average hover around .220 for the month of July. Switching from metal to wood isn’t an easy task and while many of the top college prospects gain experience with wood by playing in summer leagues such as the Cape Cod League, Benintendi spent the summer before his sophomore season in the weight room.

While he wasn’t immediately raking in Lowell, his strong instincts and plate approach allowed him to maintain a very high OBP and keep his strikeout totals down. His bat has since gotten going, though, and in the month of August, Benintendi has gone 20-54 with six walks and just two strikeouts. His final totals in Lowell ended up looking like this: .290/.408/.540, seven home runs, 7-8 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 15 strikeouts.

Benintendi joins a Greenville squad that already touts the best group of Red Sox offensive prospects in the system. The other day, the top of Greenville’s lineup looked like this: Yoan Moncada, Michael Chavis, Rafael Devers, Nick Longhi, and Javier Guerra. According to soxprospects.com‘s August 1st rankings, those are the 2nd, 13th, 1st, 19th, and 6th best prospects in the system, respectively. Benintendi currently sits in the 8th spot, but that could easily be higher given his stellar numbers this month.

Some scouts were afraid that Benintendi’s power wouldn’t be the same with wood bats given his uppercut swing, but so far it is translating nicely. With seven home runs in his first 35 games, he is on pace for about 14 in the same amount of games that he played in college, where he hit 20. A 20 to 14 drop in a player’s first time playing with a wood bat would not be bad at all. For example, Bryce Brentz, who once hit 28 home runs in 60 games at Middle Tennessee State, hit just five in 69 games with Lowell in his first season. If anything, Benintendi’s power in Lowell may be more impressive than his showing at Arkansas.

Though the season is winding down, it should be very interesting to see how Benintendi fits in with his fellow top prospects in Greenville. It’s not often that a prospect gets pushed along through a level of the farm system so quickly, but it’s clear that Benintendi has been impressive enough to get the call-up.

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Mark Gallant
About the Author

Mark has contributed to isportsweb, the Yawkey Way Report, Fansided's Chowder and Champions, and The Hockey Writers. He is also the host of the weekly radio show Top Shelf Sports on Bryant University's WJMF radio. Follow him on Twitter @TopShelfSports5







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