Red Sox Thoughts: Andrew Benintendi beginning to hit his stride

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 05: Andrew Benintendi
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 05: Andrew Benintendi /

After a few strange off days, Boston Red Sox rookie left fielder Andrew Benintendi is beginning to see more consistency at the plate.

Andrew Benintendi was the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Boston Red Sox. The former Golden Spikes winner was known for his bat – specifically his deceiving power. Despite being only 5′ 10,” Benintendi mashed 20 home runs in his Junior year.

It was almost a year ago, to the day, that Benintendi got the call up to the big league club. With so much hype surrounding the young outfielder, he delivered with his bat repeatedly. The smooth swinging lefty immediately impressed at the Major League level. He completed his shortened season with a .295 average and even delivered a postseason home run.

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To begin the 2017 season, Benintendi had already experienced more hype than any player on the Red Sox, not named Chris Sale. He was already declared the AL Rookie of the Year, by many experts, before the season had even started. As if those expectations weren’t high enough, Benintendi had been compared to Red Sox legend, Carl Yastrzemski. Simply put, there has been a lot of pressure on the young outfielder to succeed.

For most parts, Benny has delivered for the Red Sox. Despite being overshadowed by the infamous Aaron Judge in the first half, he has quietly put together a very solid rookie season. The smooth swinging lefty enters the day hitting .276 with 13 home runs and 57 RBI.

On the Fourth of July, the rookie collected a five-hit game against the Texas Rangers. As if five hits wasn’t impressive enough, the lefty also mashed two long home runs – one off Yu Darvish. Benintendi became the youngest Red Sox player with at least five hits in a game since Tony Conigliaro.

Despite the definite success, there are certainly improvements that the young star can have. For one, he is hitting a mere .231 against left-handed pitching this season. This number can certainly improve; however, the Red Sox need to allow him to have consistent at-bats against this type of pitching. Benching him will not allow him to get the necessary work; however this has been a trend this season.

Red Sox manager, John Farrell, recently benched Benintendi for two games, expressing the need to fine tune his swing. The news came as a surprise for many Sox fans; however, the move has paid dividends thus far.

Another area for improvement is base-running. Often times, we are captivated by Benintendi’s blazing speed, only to see him partake in a base-running blunder. This has become an area of frustration for many fans, but third base coach, Brian Butterfield, hasn’t lost any faith.

"“He’s what I call a trust guy on the bases,” third base coach Brian Butterfield said. “He’s not afraid, and that’s critical because a young player when they first get here, sometimes they’re afraid of going that extra base because they don’t want to make a mistake. I would much rather pull the reins on a young player than prod him and say ‘come on you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. There’s an opportunity there that you just missed because you didn’t go an extra 90 feet.'” – via Jen McCaffrey / MassLive"

Benintendi has added five stolen bases in his last five games, out of his season total of 14.

Since being benched, the lefty has hit .421 over the past five games. Obviously, he will not be able to maintain these numbers, but the increase in base hits is a positive.

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Despite no longer being an AL Rookie of the Year front-runner, Benintendi has put together an immaculate rookie season. The young lefty with a “sexy swing,” as hitting coach Chili Davis says, will continue to provide a huge boost for the Red Sox. Continue to look for the suave Michael Jackson moves from the rookie, as the Sox continue to win, dance, repeat.