Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi is poised for a monster year
Andrew Benintendi had a solid year for his first full Major League season. But he’s destined for stardom in 2018.
The Boston Red Sox have many young studs who haven’t tapped into their potential yet. Some like Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. haven’t been able to put together a consistent season, while others like Mookie Betts are on the brink of stardom.
But what about left fielder Andrew Benintendi? What kind of season can we expect from the fan favorite?
“Benny Biceps” is in for a monster season.
Benintendi, 23, weighed 165 pounds when the 2016 season ended according to Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. He gained 20 pounds last winter, and continued to gain five more this offseason. He now weighs 190 pounds.
"“Trying to stay a little stronger this year and getting through the season healthy. The extra weight will help,” Benintendi said. “We’ll see how it translates.”"
Benintendi had a solid year but hit a rookie wall at times throughout the season. He had a .776 OPS over 151 games with 20 home runs and 90 RBIs. These numbers can only improve should Benintendi find more consistency, which he plans on doing.
"“I’ve learned a lot. It’s a long season and going into this year I’ll know what to expect,” he said. “I want more consistency, to put the work in and keep my same routine. I just want to be more consistent.”"
This should come as no surprise. Everyone saw Benintendi’s potential scratch the surface last year, and believe he’s capable of reaching another level. Benintendi isn’t a lock for 40 home runs, but hitting 30+ with 100 RBIs seems very doable for the young outfielder. Regardless of the home run number for Benintendi, the Red Sox will certainly need all the power they can get.
Advanced metrics suggest Benintendi can deliver another offensive gear. Last season, Benintendi had an average launch angle of about 15 degrees, while the Major League average is about 12. Even traditional power hitters on the team like Hanley Ramirez, only reach 13. Clearly, Benny Biceps knows how to hit the ball in the air — and high too. His height of balls hit averaged about 42 feet, while the ML average was 38.
These numbers could be nothing more than meaningless information, but one could argue that added strength to an already exceptional launch angle could result in more home runs.
Other ways Benintendi can improve is by hitting lefty pitching. Benintendi hit .232 with one HR, oppose to .280 and 19 HR when facing righties. Seeing left-handed pitching better could greatly improve his production at the plate. Taking batting practice with Chris Sale and David Price before the season starts will certainly help him improve that.
Lefty-on-lefty matchups are always difficult for rookies, and Benintendi should improve now that he has a full season under his belt. However, another issue he had was driving balls on the outer side of the plate. One HR to the opposite field leaves a lot of room for improvement. Rafael Devers for example, hit six opposite field HR in 222 at-bats — 351 ABs less than Benintendi.
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Benintendi is a promising young talent with a high ceiling of potential. If he can take another step forward in his development this year, the results will be rewarding for both him and the Red Sox. His easy swing, increased strength and body weight should give Benintendi a monster 2018 season. At a time when the game’s objective is out-powering every team, the Red Sox can use all the power development they can get.