Andrew Benintendi: Where vigour meets expectancy in Boston Red Sox star prospect’s initial full year (video)

March 7, 2016 - Picnic Time

Andrew Benintendi walked by a Red Sox open training formidable during JetBlue Park after workouts one comfortable day final week, wearing a plain red T-shirt and jeans, a red round tip and a backpack.

He blended into a mass of teenager leaguers roaming a complex. Outside a park, Benintendi could have been a tyro during any one of a internal colleges in southwest Florida.

But no, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound, 21-year-old outfielder, drafted by a Red Sox final open No. 7 altogether in a MLB pledge draft, is anything though average.

With only 54 veteran games to his name, Benintendi has determined himself as one of a many sparkling and earnest prospects in a game.

When a annual tip 100 round awaiting lists came out progressing this year, Baseball America ranked Benintendi a 15th tip awaiting in baseball; ESPN’s Keith Law had him during No. 18; put him during 26; and Baseball Prospectus pegged him during 46.

Benintendi, a draft-eligible sophomore, jetted from one of a best seasons in college round final deteriorate where he was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of a Year and Southeastern Conference Player of a Year as good as leader of a Golden Spikes endowment and Dick Howser trophy. He did all that, was drafted by a Red Sox, helped his Arkansas Razorbacks to a College World Series and when they were eliminated, he strictly sealed his initial pro agreement on Jun 29.

He done his pro round entrance on Jul 3 in Short-Season Class A Lowell.

The whirlwind could have knocked a steam out of Benintendi, though instead it fueled him. In 35 games for a Spinners, a maladroit hitter batted .290 with a .948 OPS with 7 homers and 25 walks compared to 15 strikeouts.

The Red Sox motionless to exam him during a subsequent turn and he rose to a arise during Single-A Greenville attack .351 with a 1.011 OPS 4 homers and 5 doubles in a final 19 games. Despite a modernized turn of pitching, if by a tiny margin, he still managed some-more walks than strikeouts, 10 to 9, display an aptitude for representation recognition.

But environment such a high baseline so early in his career can be dangerous.

Expectations emanate a hazardous fashion and even some-more so in Boston where prospects aren’t given most space and a spotlight is intense. The arise in seductiveness of prospects over new years is rampant. But once a actor performs well, any back transformation is mostly noticed by those outward a classification as failure.

So far, Benintendi has taken his success in stride.

“Each day is going to be different,” he said, sitting during cruise during list outward JetBlue Park. “You’re going to struggle. You’re going to do well. You can’t unequivocally let a past or a day before — either we had a good day or bad day — foreordain a day we have that certain day.”

But only ask ask former supplemental first-rounder Jackie Bradley Jr., one of Boston’s 4 first-round picks in a 2011 draft, about behaving to expectations.

“At that sold time you’re only beholden to be means to play during a subsequent level,” Bradley said. “I consider everybody goes into it with an open mind. we did. we was only vehement to get my veteran career started. we overtly wasn’t even meditative about first-rounder he has to do this, has to do that.

“But everybody wants to uncover a reason they got picked so high is since we were a flattering good round actor and apparently they were a group that suspicion so, differently they wouldn’t have selected me so high,” Bradley said. “So we wish to go out there and infer they were right for picking you.”

Bradley never had an OPS reduce than .800 in his initial 3 years in a minors, though struggled in 2013 on creation his major-league debut. He battled by 2014 and 2015 before a earnest finish to final season.

The Red Sox try to assistance their teenager leagues conduct a augmenting pressure, though partial of a actor evaluation, even before they are drafted, is final how good a actor handles attention, foe and distractions, among other things.

“The beauty of actor growth is we can build all a routines and programs that we want, though during a finish of a day, it’s a diversion played by tellurian beings and there’s things that occur in Boston during a major-league level, with courtesy to pressure, with courtesy to distractions, with courtesy to personification in front of 40,000 fans each night,” Red Sox executive of actor growth Ben Crockett said. “Things we only can’t reconstruct or copy during a teenager joining level, though we consider each event we get to display guys to what they competence see during a large joining level, we’re going to do.”

In new years, a bar has hold a rookie stay in Boston before to open training for players who are on a fork of entering a majors or have singular major-league experience. The stay is designed to prepared immature players for an bland major-league lifestyle.

In new years, Rusney Castillo, Brian Johnson, Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Travis Shaw have all participated.

This year, a group motionless to abandon a stay with a subsequent tier of prospects, including Benintendi, Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers, during slightest a year divided from their major-league debuts.

Betts aside, roughly each immature actor that’s reached Boston in a final 3 seasons has struggled.

Red Sox manager John Farrell, a former plantation executive for a Cleveland Indians, has dealt with a transition for immature players from a minor-league actor growth side to a stream Red Sox register with several entry-level major-leaguers.

“It’s a plea that we consider everywhere in a diversion with first-year players, you’re traffic with,” he said. “There’s so most hype and billing during times for immature players. There’s an expectancy that is set. Some would consider they did this in Double-A and Triple-A, so automatically they should do this during a large joining level. If they haven’t met that, are they deemed a failure? And nonetheless each actor is going to transition individually, what their mental ability is, what their solve is when they struggle. Is it a initial time they’ve struggled in their pro career during a vital joining level? All of those factors are eccentric to a person.

“We do speak to a players during a teenager joining level, make them wakeful of distractions, challenges, things they competence have gifted for a initial time,” he continued. “And we try to emanate a support complement for them. But ultimately, between a lines, a diversion is a biggest teacher. That can’t be repetitious during a minor-league level.”

Part of Benintendi’s graduation to Greenville was exposing him to modernized turn since he seemed to have mastered Lowell. Another partial was adding him to a lineup in Greenville that featured a rest of a organization’s top-notch talent. Benintendi strike clean-up in all 19 games for Greenville, recording a strike or travel in all though one game. Moncada, Michael Chavis and Devers done adult a tip of Greenville’s lineup.

“There were a lot of good players via a sequence and that done me wish to rouse my diversion and with them attack around me it was fun. (Playing with) guys like Moncada and Devers, who are apparently rarely touted, we felt like they lifted my diversion and them being there done me play better,” Benintendi said.

If Benintendi follows a arena of Cubs’ tip draftees Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, who both reached a majors with only one full year in a minors, he could be in Boston by subsequent season.

The Red Sox have a swarming outfield during a impulse with Bradley, Betts and Castillo, though Benintendi could emanate some-more foe shortly enough.

One of a biggest tools of Crockett’s pursuit is handling a course of Boston’s teenager leaguers. He’s aware of a hype surrounding Benintendi though exclusive variable circumstances, Crockett says a outfielder has warranted a graduation to High-A Salem.

“We try not to come in with too many preconceived notions,” Crockett said. “We don’t wish to rest too most on tiny representation sizes, though during a same time, when there are earthy adjustments or mental proceed adjustments being done positively wish to be prepared to take those into account.

“Andrew did a lot of unequivocally good things in both Lowell and Greenville final year and as an modernized college actor he positively should be a clever claimant for Salem.”

That’s a expectation. No pressure.

Follow Red Sox kick contributor @jcmccaffrey on Twitter. She can be reached by email during

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