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Monday, June 5, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ANDREW BENINTENDI OUTFIELDER BOSTON RED SOX

As 2017 fantasy baseball drafts got underway this past winter, there general consensus was that Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi was far-and-away the number 1 hitting prospect in the game and as a result, a major sleeper target during the early middle rounds of drafts.  Having been selected as the 7th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Benintendi quickly began to show the five-tool skills that made everyone drool when they watched him play.  The Red Sox gave Benintendi a look midway through the 2016 season and while he did deal with injuries, Benintendi did not embarrass himself as he batted. 295 in .118 at-bats with a homer and 2 steals.  Despite the small sample size, Benintendi's stock soared in spring training as he annihilated exhibition pitching; hitting for more power and using his speed to pick up extra bases.  Then after learning he would likely bat second in the order, Benintendi was clearly the must have bat heading into the season.

Fast forward to present day and needless to say, Benintendi has been every bit the burgeoning star he was anticipated to be; showcasing the power/speed game that screams out "future 20/20" stud.  Heading into Monday's action and fresh off a two-homer/one-steal game on Sunday, Benintendi was hitting .269 with 7 home runs and 8 steals for the Red Sox and thus validating the high draft cost he carried.  Now it all has not been perfect by any means for Benintendi who recently was benched for a batch of games the last two weeks due to fears from manager John Farrell that his prodigy was dealing with fatigue and for some pronounced issues versus lefties.  Benintendi seems to have caught his breath as evidenced by the two homers on Sunday but he clearly has work to do against the southpaws.  Yes the ,294 average is actually pretty good versus lefties this season but that is because the sample size is small as Farrell has steered Benintendi away from them after seeing him hit just .179 against them a year ago.  Still despite that one issue and the likely rookie wall that will hit in August, Benintendi has handled the bat and his approach at the dish as well as could be expected.  It is almost unheard of for a rookie to have such a tiny 14.2 K/9 rate that Benintendi currently totes and he also is drawing a bunch of walks as seen in his high 9.5 BB/9 rate.  This shows what a special talent Benintendi is and how the sky is the limit here.

When you put it all together, Andrew Benintendi clearly looks like the next five tool fantasy baseball star and he could easily move up to second round territory for 2018 drafts.  He will only get better as Benintendi gains more experience and so the numbers could get silly before you know it.


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