There was never any doubt, but it’s now official. The Red Sox have come to terms with first-round selection Andrew Benintendi on a signing bonus worth $3,590,400.
With this signing, the Red Sox continue their excellent track record with signing draft picks (they have not failed to sign a top-ten pick since 2011), as Benintendi marks the seventh of Boston’s first nine picks to sign officially. His signing bonus comes out to exactly the slot bonus for the seventh overall pick, as the Red Sox did not have to pay extra to sign Benintendi despite his status as a draft-eligible sophomore.
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The Red Sox still have to come to terms with third-rounder Austin Rei and sixth-rounder Travis Lakins, but they shouldn’t have any trouble doing so as eight-rounder Logan Allen represents their only significantly overslot selection in the first ten rounds.
From here on, the only questions surrounding Benintendi are where he’ll start his Red Sox career and where he’ll slot into Red Sox prospect rankings. The first question seems fairly clear as Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington indicated that he would head to Short Season-A Lowell. In fact, we have a recent point of reference in last season’s second-rounder Sam Travis, a similarly advanced college hitter, who played for Lowell for a few weeks before a promotion to Low-A Greenville. If Benintendi performs well in Lowell, that seems a reasonable route for his professional debut season.
The second question is a bit more up in the air. Benintendi certainly has his fans, and rightly so as his advanced approach and five-tool pedigree give him both a high ceiling and a high floor, who suggest that he could slot in near the top of Boston’s system, just behind the elite names of Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, Manuel Margot and Eduardo Rodriguez. Others feel less strongly about Benintendi’s star potential and would rank him after the next tier of prospects such as Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, and Michael Kopech.
Either way, it’s nothing but encouraging that the Red Sox have officially locked up Benintendi. There should be more news in the coming days as he officially reports to Lowell (or potentially Greenville if the Red Sox are feeling especially aggressive), but there’s no way around the fact that this is good news.