Red Sox 2017 Report Cards: Left fielder Andrew Benintendi

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 22: Andrew Benintendi
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 22: Andrew Benintendi /

Our annual Report Card series evaluates and grades the 2017 season of each member of the Boston Red Sox. Up next – Andrew Benintendi.

Behind only Chris Sale and Mookie Betts, no Red Sox player came in with as much hype this season as Andrew Benintendi.

Following a solid quick stint in 2016, Benintendi was the most hyped rookie for the 2017 season, and for good reason. In 2016, he showed flashes of great defense, a solid average, and reliable power for a 22-year-old. But in 2017, many believed he would make the leap to the next level.

In almost every other season, Benintendi is likely the front-runner for the rookie of the year award. But Aaron Judge ran away with that award in the first half, and despite a great month of August, Benintendi could never gain a lot of ground on Judge.

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But while Benintendi made the jump to the next level, there is still a lot of room for him to improve.

His triple slash line is not overwhelming, which came in at .271/.352/.424. But that can be deceiving seeing how two bad months derailed that line. In May he had an OPS of .602, and in July, he had an OPS of .643. It seemed as if he could not string together two good months this season. But there is no doubt that August was his best month.

Led by this huge game against the Yankees, Benintendi smashed his way to the rookie of the month award in August. He finished the month slashing .333/.420/.559.

However, there are a few places where the young left fielder can improve. Just like any young outfielder in Boston, he could use some work with the angles of Fenway. On several occasions this season, Benintendi misplayed a ball off of the Monster, leading to the runner getting an extra base. But that will improve with time.

At the plate, Benintendi’s advanced stats do not jump off the page, but they are pretty respectable. He racked up an OPS+ of 103, just above the league average. His wRC+ was 103, which is also slightly above average. Benintendi had a wOBA of .332, just behind Mookie Betts who led the team with a wOBA of .339. He had a WAR of 2.6, and an oWAR of 1.9. Benintendi is, without a doubt, the left fielder of the future.

But on offense, what are some things that he can improve on before his second full season? My suggestion is working on his patience.

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No, Benintendi was not a guy who struck out a lot, but he only had 70 walks this season. His walk percentage was 10,6%, which was tied for sixth on the team. He is a guy, who when he gets his pitch, he does not miss. It just felt that sometimes this past season that he was not waiting for his pitch.

As for next season, we can definitely expect Benintendi to make another leap. He showed he has a decent amount of pop, with 20 home runs. But I believe his 2018 performance could be based on the players the Red Sox put around him. If the front office decides against adding a power bat, a lot of expectations will be put on him.

But if the Sox decide to add a power bat, the expectations will be lighter on Benintendi, which will allow him to do his thing quietly.

Even if the Red Sox add a power bat, Benintendi will likely be counted on to provide a spark in the offense. Being part of the young core can have its challenges, but there is no doubt that he will have plenty of leash to struggle. But there are no signs that point to him struggling next season.

If anything, we could expect him to make another leap next year, likely to an All-Star level player. As we stated earlier, a couple of bad months hurt Benintendi’s stats. There is a good chance that being a year older will help him avoid staying in those kinds of slides for an entire month. If he can avoid following a good month with a cold streak, he can be on the level of all the AL all-stars.

Benintendi is still under team control and will be going through the pre-arbitration process this offseason.

B. . Left Field. . Andrew Benintendi

Next: Top 5 free agent hitters

With Benintendi’s raw talent and beautiful swing, he might be on a fast track to his first All-Star game next season. The 23-year-old has almost put everything together, and when he does, he will become a mainstay in the mid-summer classic.