Meet Red Sox First Rounder Andrew Benintendi - NECN
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Meet Red Sox First Rounder Andrew Benintendi



    Meet Red Sox First Rounder Andrew Benintendi
    Arkansas center fielder Andrew Benintendi, picked seventh overall by the Red Sox in the 2015 first year player draft.

    And with that, Boston sportswriters began coming up with mnemonic devices to spell the newest Red Sox player's name. Case in point:

    There is a lot to be excited about in the team's newest first-rounder. Already a very strong hitter with speed on the basepaths, Benintendi showed some pop this year.

    Through draft night, the Arkansas center fielder shared a three-way lead among Division I hitters with 19 homers. He's also swiped 23 bases and, more encouragingly, only been thrown out four times. Oh, and he's hitting .380/.489/.715 for an utterly ridiculous 1.204 OPS.

    Because college statistics can be misleading (since the competition is also in school), this note from Baseball America's draft recap is quite encouraging:

    "Benintendi’s draft stock has skyrocketed this spring thanks to the loudest season of any college player," BA wrote. "He may be the best combination of athleticism and production in this college class."

    On the 20-80 scouting scale, already rates his hitting, running and fielding at a 60 (all above average). His throwing arm strength and power both rate out at 50 (average), noting that his power has only recently been recognized.

    Here's the thing, though - that's how good he is right now. He can't legally drink until July.

    While projecting a player based on his college numbers can certainly be difficult, Chris Mitchell, a researcher who provides content for FanGraphs and the Hardball Times, developed a system called KATOH to predict players' early careers. Among 2015 first-rounders Mitchell projects Benintendi to trail only shortstop Alex Bregman, picked second by the Astros, in WAR* through age 28 (Benintendi being at 8.6 and Bregman at 11.2).

    Previously picked by his hometown Cincinnati Reds in the 31st round in 2013, Benintendi must be glad he didn't sign and raised his stock by playing some excellent ball at Arkansas. The Red Sox could have a very good player on their hands.

    Benintendi would certainly slot ahead of Boston's last No. 7 pick, pitcher Trey Ball (2013) - who does have the potential to become a solid contributor, but doesn't appear on Baseball America's organizational Top 10 list and is considered by to be the 12th best Red Sox prospect.

    Among recent seventh overall picks, though, are Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, All-Star Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and "Gotham's Dark Knight," young Mets starter Matt Harvey.

    How effective Benintendi will be obviously remains to be seen. And some prospects develop more quickly than others. But one day, he will almost certainly hear his name called at Fenway Park. What will he do with that chance? We'll see.


    *WAR, or Wins Above Replacement, is a statistic that relies on many factors that interpret how many overall runs a player is worth, boiling down to his value compared to an average replacement-level player, who would be valued at zero.