Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers on MLB potential list
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox have two players on the MLB long-term potential list for rookies and they are joined by two former Red Sox farmhands who made the top ten.
The Boston Red Sox have two players on the projected long-term potential list with Andrew Benintendi ranked first and Rafael Devers at third.
Of note is two former Red Sox farm hands are also among the top ten with Yoan Moncada fourth and Manuel Margot eighth. Margot was the centerpiece in the trade for Craig Kimbrel and Moncada for the deal that brought Chris Sale to Boston. The list is limited to rookies only.
"Also No. 1 on our preseason Top 100 Prospects list, he combines pure hitting ability, power, speed and defense in a manner reminiscent of former Boston star Fred Lynn. – MLB.com on Andrew Benintendi"
This season was supposed to be the Rookie of the Year Award for Benintendi, but the historic first half by Aaron Judge (ranked fifth) put that into the rear view mirror despite the .194 second-half by the likable Yankee mountain of a slugger. Another certainty is National League ROY and fellow slugger Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers who is listed third.
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For Moncada, his improvement has progressed with experience. Moncada’s average has finally broken through the .200 barrier and is at .229 with six home runs and 16 RBI for the 22-year-old switch hitter. The combination of speed and power pushes Moncada to his position.
The last former Red Sox farmhand is the swift Margot, who is the starting center fielder for the Padres. Margot is hitting .265 and showing developing power with 13 home runs and 38 RBI. The 22-year-old right-hand hitting Margot has speed with 14 steals and defense with a 10.6 UZR/150.
Benintendi has certainly not disappointed with his rookie performance and the key is his consistency. Benintendi had a first-half average on .279 and a .274 for post All-Star break. As a run producer Benintendi has just that with 19 home runs and 85 RBI. Benintendi also brings above-average speed with 19 steals in 24 attempts and may soon join Mookie Betts as members of the 20/20 club.
Benintendi’s most negative statistic is on defense where the natural center fielder is now in left with a -1.2 UZR/150. Collectively Benintendi now has a 2.0 fWAR. Not a bad beginning for the 23-year-old left-hand hitter.
Devers broke on the scene with a surprising flurry of power including a dramatic home run off a 103 MPH fastball by Aroldis Chapman. Devers power numbers have stalled, but the 20-year-old left-hand hitter has continued to keep his average elevated at .286.
Devers glove work has been inconsistent for this observer and that is his fielding history. Devers has 11 errors in 401.2 innings at third, but has also made some excellent fielding decisions and does have the ability to charge a slow roller with far more fans than the previous third baseball – Pablo Sandoval.
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Projecting players is like predicting the stock market or herding cats in it is not a task one would stake their career on. Baseball history is a treasure trove of can’t miss players who did just that – miss. From what observers have seen of Benintendi and Devers is that they will both be around MLB a long time – providing Dave Dombrowski does not trade them away.