We most likely won’t see a full season this year, and this could be a benefit to Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi as he’s looking to rebound in 2020.
We’re officially into April and there’s no baseball in sight, my friends. As members of Red Sox Nation anxiously look at the calendar while holding their tickets, we can only hope our beloved game returns soon. While we wait though, we can begin to look forward to a season that may be coming down the pike.
I recently posted a poll on the BoSox Injection twitter account asking the Fenway Faithful who they thought would benefit the most from a shortened season. I gave the options of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Michael Chavis, and Rafael Devers. There was a reason I chose those four players as each has something to prove with their 2020 campaign.
Benintendi had a poor showing last season after a strong year in 2018, he’ll be looking to prove that it was 2019 that was an anomaly and not the World Series campaign. JBJ is in the final year of his contract and has to impress the rest of the league if he wants a decent contract next winter.
Raffy is coming off of a historic season and has to make a statement that it wasn’t a fluke and that he’s that good. And Chavis needs to show the Red Sox that despite his injuries, he’s worth the callup and spot on the 40-Man roster. In my mind, each player has their own goal to accomplish in 2020, especially if the sample size they’re provided is much smaller.
So, with the vote placed in the hands of Red Sox Nation, it was Benintendi that the fans felt would benefit the most from a shorter season. I can’t argue against that sentiment as I had it narrowed down to him and Jackie, myself. Each has their back against the wall, but with Benny working that two-year deal to avoid arbitration until 2022, he has to back up that faith.
Boston’s defensive dynamo will be turning 26 this summer and doesn’t have free agency to worry about until 2023. Let’s take a look at the lefty’s performance over the last two seasons as well as his spring training numbers from 2020.
2018: .290/.366/.465/.830/16 HR/87 RBI
2019: .266/.343/.431/.774/13 HR/68 RBI
2020: .286/.348/.476/.824/1 HR/1 RBI
Benintendi definitely stays within a range as far as his stats are concerned, he’s the definition of consistent. It’s no secret that there was a steep decline in production from 2018 to 2019 and littler to no reasoning why. If I had to put my finger on anything, I’d have to look in the direction of former Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
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Much like how he played coy on Boston’s closer situation, he also flipped Benny and Mookie Betts in the lineup, which sunk them both faster than the Titanic in 2019. Neither man was able to adjust to their new roles within the dynamic and both suffered greatly for it. With Betts now soaking up that Hollywood sun, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ron Roenicke give Benintendi the lead-off spot outright for 2020.
If he has time to adjust to his new spot in the lineup and it’s held with some consistency by his manager, I think he could excel greatly as the first man up. Just looking at his numbers for spring this year we’re seeing an uptick in every category and he’s trending towards what he did in 2018. Now that Mookie is no longer on the team it’ll be more important than ever for Benny to make things happen at the plate.
Andrew Benintendi is one of the cornerstones of this young Red Sox team and can be for quite some time. Similar to JBJ, what he does defensively far outweighs what he does at the plate. However, if he can get to a similar level with his offense that he’s proven to be at with his defense, the sky is the limit. If we do get some level of Red Sox baseball in 2020, I think Benny will be one of a handful to keep our eyes on.