As we head into the last month of the regular season for the Red Sox, it looks like he’s been able to handle the pressure.
Benintendi came out of the gate strong. He was already making headlines at spring training, and was the Red Sox opening day starter in left field. At 22 years and 271 days old, Benny was actually the youngest opening day starter in left since Carl Yastrzemski in 1962.
Benny entered the All Star break slashing .279/.357/.446 with 12 HRs, 51 RBIs, and 9 stolen bases. The home run power was an unexpected addition to his game, a side effect of a rigorous offseason routine.
His workout video has been getting a lot of use on twitter this season, and has inspired the second best nickname on the team. For a kid who hit 20 home runs in his entire minor league career, hitting 12 in the first half of his rookie season definitely earns him the name “Benny Biceps.”
In addition to the home runs, Benny Biceps proved that he could come through when it mattered most. He hit his first career walk off against the Phillies in the 12th inning of a 3-3 game on June 13th.
Almost a month later he would draw a bases loaded walk against the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th for his second walk off victory in 2 months.
The second half has not been as kind. Going into the weekend’s series with the Yankees, Benintendi has been slashing .267/.350/.416 with 6 HRs, 21RBIs, and 9 stolen bases.
The young star struggled the month of July, going .222/.320/.322, 2HRs and 0 stolen bases. He did manage 14 RBIs despite those struggles. He was benched for 2 games at the start of August in hopes that some time off might clear his head.
It looks like the benching worked. August was by far Benny’s best month as a professional. He’s got a .333/.423/.550 line, 9 stolen bases and 6 HRs. His blistering month has bumped him up to the 3rd most valuable position player on the Red Sox according to WAR.
He trails only 2016 MVP runner-up Mookie Betts (5.1) and All-Star CF Jackie Bradley Jr (2.9). At 2.3 wins above replacement, Benny has a serious shot at over taking Jackie, especially if he struggles to return from his hand injury.
Benny is also sitting on 18 home runs and 18 stolen bases; with a whole month left to play it seems inevitable that he makes it into the 20/20 club this year.
Those power/speed numbers put him in some pretty good company. Five of those players would go on to be All-Stars, with 2 of them (Harper and Trout) winning MVPs. Trout and Harper both won the Rookie of the Year in their respective rookie seasons. Danny Espinosa is the only player on that list to not finish in at least the top 4 in the ROY voting.
According to baseball-reference.com’s Play Index, only Mike Trout and Chris Young have had 25 HRs and 25 SBs in their rookie seasons. If Andrew Benintendi can add 7 more HRs & stolen bases in his last 28 games he will be joining quite the exclusive club. With 6 HRs and 8 SBs in his last 24 games, that does not seem out of grasp for the young outfielder.