Boston Red Sox: Most overrated players in franchise history
By Drew Athans
This one is sure to make some fans upset, especially younger fans, the ladies, and grandmothers (I jest), but don’t let the handsome good looks and flowing mane of jet black hair obscure your vision. Andrew Benintendi has been a pretty good player during his brief Red Sox career to this point, but a lot of fans vastly overrate him as one of the best outfielders in the game.
These same fans are usually taken aback when fans of other teams and the sports media outside of New England don’t consider him anywhere near as good as Red Sox fans do. After coming up to the big leagues in the summer of 2016 and dazzling Sox fans, Benintendi had a really good rookie season in 2017, putting up a .271 average along with 20 home runs and 90 RBI.
He finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting behind Aaron Judge and played solid defense, seeming to take over left field and playing the Green Monster with ease. Seemingly poised for a breakout season in 2018, Benintendi was great in the first half of the season but declined precipitously after the All Star break when his power stroke seemed to disappear.
He finished the season with a .290 average but only 16 home runs (with only two after the break) and 87 RBI. He was solid in the postseason, though, and while he had no home runs and only five RBI that October, his diving catch to end Game Four of the ALCS gave the Red Sox a commanding 3-1 lead and all but ended the Astros’ chances.
Red Sox fans then waited for him to have a bounce-back season in 2019, but he was even worse than he’d been the second half of 2018. Like most of his teammates, Benintendi had a disappointing 2019 season, batting .266 with only 13 home runs and 68 RBI. He had several long slumps at the plate and the frustration visibly boiled over several times.
His defense also visibly slipped (although strangely he was a Gold Glove finalist for the second year in a row) and he continued his troubling habit of running into far too many outs on the bases. Benintendi isn’t a bad player at all and he’s still very young and very talented, but he was certainly the weakest of the Killer B’s outfield of 2016-2019.
He wasn’t near the overall player Mookie Betts was and his defense isn’t anywhere near as good as Jackie Bradley’s (while their power numbers are about the same). The 2020 season may very well be a make-or-break one for Benintendi and while he’s still one of the better young outfielders in the league with plenty of time to get back on track, he’s overvalued and overrated by a huge swath of Red Sox fans.