Rejoice Red Sox Nation because the future is… well it’s not now, but it’s coming soon. Andrew Benintendi has been promoted to AA Portland after hitting a mind-boggling .341 in Salem to kick off 2016.
Benintendi left the Carolina league with a line of .341/.413/.563 over just 21 games while smacking 13 doubles, seven triples and one homer, and he’s just 21. It’s no doubt that the 5’10” outfielder has the makings of a star, and will fit right in with our power studs Jackie Bradley Jr and Mookie Betts.
Salem manager Joe Oliver couldn’t have higher praise.
“His whole approach, offensively and defensively, is very advanced,” Oliver said recently. “I feel very confident in everything he does out there. His defensive play is very solid. He doesn’t put himself in bad positions. He runs as hard as he needs to to get to a ball. He understands and is under control when he’s tracking a ball in the outfield. He’s not like a young outfielder who’s full-tilt. You can just tell by his body language if he has the ball.
Offensively, he doesn’t put himself in a bad position to swing the bat. He has a plan going up there. He will not get frustrated if his at-bat doesn’t result in a base hit or driving in a run. He’ll make an adjustment for his next at-bat to be better. That’s very unusual for a young hitter. He’s very advanced.”
Not to risk over-comparison here, but Benintendi is the fastest player to make the jump to AA in the Sox system since Dustin Pedroia did it in 2005. Given Pedroia’s already prolific career, I’d say Andrew is in very good company. At 21 he still needs some seasoning, but a 2017 callup would not be out of the question in the least, making Benintendi’s campaign to start in 2018 a likely possibility.
As good as the Sox offense is, just knowing we could be even better gives me the warm fuzzies. Now if only we could pitch…