Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi has the makings of a star and he will make 2018 his stage to prove his stardom.
In fact, the impressive part about Benintendi’s rookie season with the Red Sox was how he turned a major slump into tumultuous hot streak in August. Finishing with 20 home runs, 90 RBI and a .271 batting average, the Red Sox young outfielder’s summer tear was one of the reasons the team pulled ahead and eventually won the American League East crown.
With big clutch hit after big clutch hit, Benintendi not only proved he belonged in the big leagues, he stabilized himself as one of the centerpieces in the Red Sox lineup.
Like most young players, he did have his struggles. But, like players who become stars, he turned those struggles into a confidence that will carry him throughout his young career.
"“You get here and you’re going to go through struggles and things like that, and there are other times you’re going to play well,” Benintendi said last September, via MLB.com. You’ve just got to stay even-keeled through hit all. Every time I go up to the plate, I think I’m going to get a hit. That confidence never leaves. It’s that mindset I think that will keep you from going in those big slumps.”"
Andrew Benintendi went on a tear in August in which he hit .322 with seven homers and 29 RBIs.
Despite the team losing to the Houston Astros in the American League Divisional Series, Benintendi was one of the bright spots with a home run and 2 RBI.
A more aggressive approach
Andrew Benintendi arrived at Red Sox spring training in February bulked up and with less hair. His new look was not only reflective of a stronger player, but also a more aggressive player at the plate.
On a team hungry for power, Benintendi will certainly attempt to add more homers to the lineup, but his main goal is to be more aggressive in attacking pitchers early in the count. That will be crucial for a player who has only hit .209 with two strikes.
With a more aggressive approach, he is hoping to change the way pitchers attack him.
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"“Sometimes that first pitch you see is going to be the best pitch all at-bat,” Benintendi said, via the Boston Herald. “If you pass up on a fastball down the middle because you’re trying to see pitches, now you’ve got to maybe hit a curveball or slider or changeup. I’m just trying to get a fastball and drive it.”"
With that approach, Benintendi should increase his OPS and also help jolt the power outage the team went through in 2017.
What to expect in 2018
I expect a lot more dancing from Andrew Benintendi in 2018. Not just after a victory, when the outfielders do their “win, dance, repeat” celebration, but a lot of trots around the bases. With J.D. Martinez inserted in the lineup, Benintendi will be a player who benefits from the production he will provide.
With his aggressive approach and added strength, the Boston Red Sox left fielder will flirt with a 30 homer, 100 RBI season.
Overall, offense will not be an issue with Andrew Benintendi. His defense and base running will be areas to watch. If he improves in both of those areas, as well as increase his power numbers, he will be one of 2018’s breakout stars.