Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi, MY rookie of the year

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 05: Andrew Benintendi
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 05: Andrew Benintendi /
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BALTIMORE, MD – JUNE 04: Andrew Benintendi /

Does Andrew Benintendi have a shot at the Rookie of the Year for the Red Sox?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of this closer-than-it-seems ROY race, I’m going to say one thing. You have to judge Benny’s season on its own merit. Just because one team has a literal monster who hit 30 home runs in half a season doesn’t mean this race is as cut and dry as some people think. Benintendi has had a spectacular rookie season, despite some ups and downs, and deserves the same consideration as anyone.

Let’s say Benintendi’s insane tear continues. The Red Sox have two more series against both the Rays and the Blue Jays, and one each with the Athletics and the Reds. There’s no such thing as an easy baseball game, but right now three of those teams are in the bottom of their divisions, and the Rays are in 4th place.

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Over Benny’s last 28 games he’s hitting .315/.422/.504 with 6 home runs and 9 stolen bases. That average is being dragged down by the tail end of July before his benching, so let’s say his September will be more like his August than his July.

I think it’s reasonable to project him with a .310/.380/.580 line or so for September. Add in another 7 HRs and 9 SBs and he finishes 2017 with 25 HRs, 25 SBs, and a .281/.359/.460 line for the season. A well above average season for any player, let alone a rookie.

On top of his prowess at the plate, Benintendi has had a good year in the field. He’s mastered playing in front of the Green Monster. He plays balls of that wall so well you would think he’s been there for 15 years.

Away from the park he’s been outstanding as well. The Red Sox outfield is populated by great defensive players and Benny is no slouch. We’re spoiled getting to watch plays like this on the regular.

If you want to put some numbers to it Benny has a combined (LF & CF) fielding percentage of .982 with 4 errors on the year. He also has 6 defensive runs saved which puts him squarely in the “above average” category.

While his .982 fielding percentage is slightly below the league average, it’s significantly better than most Red Sox left fielders in recent memory. People like to talk about the awful black hole at 3B, but after Manny Ramirez was sent to LA, left field was almost just as bad.

Brock Holt, Hanley Ramirez, Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava, Carl Crawford, and Jason Bay all tried to tame the monster, and almost no one handled it as well as Benny has this season. Hanley in particular was terrible: a .969 fielding percentage with -19(!) defensive runs saved.

Thank you Benny for saving us from that.

Okay, so assuming Benny keeps pace, he’s off to a great rookie season. Would it be impressive enough to take home the ROY trophy?