Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi is becoming an elite level left fielder
Andrew Benintendi made his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2016. Since then he’s become one of the best left fielders in the game today.
When we talk about some of the best players in the game we hear names like Trout, Betts, and Yelich, and rightfully so. They’re some of the absolute best to lace up the cleats and take the field on a nightly basis. One man that should be in the elite conversation, at least at his position, is Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi.
I’m sure there are some of you out there that are shaking your heads at the notion of Benny Biceps being an elite player, but he is. I’ll admit that I may not always think so but that may be due to just how good he is. We’ve gotten so comfortable having him in left field that we honestly take him for granted. Just think of the few times the Red Sox have needed to use somebody other than Benintendi in left, it’s scary.
I was a bit surprised when I visited his Baseball-Reference page and saw that he made his debut back in 2016. It feels as if he’s been with the club for a decade, not a little over three seasons. Once again, that’s just how damn good he is at his job. When you see Benny’s name in the lineup you know that the left field will be patroled with the highest level of skill.
The Red Sox recently shined some light on the many accomplishments during his short tenure in the Majors. Some of them include leading the league in outfield assists (32) since his first full season in 2017. Oh yeah, also in 2017 he became just the third Red Sox rookie to finish with 20+ HR/20+ SB, joining Ellis Burks and Nomar Garciaparra. That’s some pretty good company to be linked to.
So, how does he rank among other left fielders since 2017? Great question! He ranks ninth overall in your standard fielding metrics while coming in at sixth when we look at the advanced numbers. Benintendi falls third overall in that window at 3286.1 innings played and sixth with a .983 Fld%. Not too shabby for a guy that never really gets brought up into the elite conversation, despite proving that he deserves to be there.
If you ask any member of Red Sox Nation about Benny I think it’s safe to say most would bring up his defensive wizardry during the 2018 postseason. First came the series winning catch against the Astros in Game 4 of the ALCS. The Sox had a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. Houston loaded the bases with Alex Bregman at the plate. A missed pitch by Craig Kimbrel was saved by a spectacular diving catch by Benny.
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That play saved the game, the series, and Boston’s postseason hopes. It also won the AP’s “Play of the Year.” That award didn’t cover just baseball, but all sports from the 2018 calendar year. Adding that baby to the trophy case next to his World Series ring was probably pretty sweet. If that play wasn’t good enough for you, he wasn’t done.
Game 2 of the World Series was at Fenway Park, basically Benny’s second home. The way he man’s the Green Monster is no different than any homeowner would patrol their property. A rocket of a ball was hit off the bat of Brian Dozier and looked like it could spell trouble for Boston.
Problem is, he hit it to left field. As the ball looked like it might get by Benintendi he lept into the air, looking like the damn Air Jordan logo, and caught the ball. Once again, showing why he should be considered an elite left fielder. It’s hard to tell what the 2020 season may look like, we know it’ll be shortened, but how short is still a mystery. I definitely feel a shorter season could be a benefit to Benny as it’ll create less wear and tear, allowing him to go-off all season long.
The Red Sox have had some seriously talented left fielders, several of whom are Hall of Famers. Will Andrew Benintendi get to that level, I don’t know. What I do know is that he’s one of the absolute best in the game today at his position and he should be considered as such. Whenever I see his name in the lineup I know that there won’t be anything to worry about in left field, that’s where he lives and he hates having guests.