Rookie Outfielder Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Red Sox made his MLB debut on August 2nd, 2016.
He had been called up straight from double-A affiliate Portland and has played with great ability and competitiveness ever since. But because his debut was relatively late in the season, and other young talent was shining around the league, Benintendi’s rookie season with the Red Sox was overlooked.
Andrew Benintendi came into the pros rather unexpectedly, skipping the triple-A level in the minor leagues. Although, the expectations were still high. Benintendi carries quite the résumé, holding the 2015 Golden Spikes Award with the University of Arkansas. For those who aren’t familiar with this award, it is handed out to the best amateur baseball player in the country. And yes, you read that correctly.
Even though Benintendi’s debut was August 2nd, he came on as a pinch hitter in that game, so was only granted two AB’s, and was hitless in both. His first start came the very next day on August 3rd. He collected his first major-league hit in that game, finishing the game going 2-3.
In 34 games played for the Sox, Benintendi finished the season with a .295 batting average, 31 hits, 2 home runs, 14 RBI’s, 16 runs scored, and 1 stolen base.
Now if you look at other rookies around the league, like Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies and Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees, these numbers might not seem so impressive. But take into consideration how late Benintendi entered the league, and the amount of time he was on the disabled list.
On August 24th in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Benintendi was forced to leave the game after hurting his left knee. He did not return until mid-September.
On August 22nd, Andrew Benintendi made what could very well have been the catch of the year, making a circus-catch almost going completely over the left field wall in Tampa Bay.
The rookie was also a huge factor in the postseason for Boston. As we all know, the Red Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 ALDS. This was mainly due to the lack of offensive production. Very few individuals stood out, and one of those individuals was Andrew Benintendi. In 9 AB’s in the series, Benintendi hit .333 with 3 hits, a run scored, and a home run that happened during game 1 in Cleveland.
I understand that what Andrew Benintendi has done is just a small sample size. But in the amount of time that he had to achieve all that he achieved this season, we can only wait to see what he will do next season. With more experience and more baseball to be played, I’m pretty confident that Benintendi will be everything but overlooked during the 2017 season.