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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ANDREW BENINTENDI OUTFIELDER BOSTON RED SOX

Yes the sophomore jinx is a real thing.  Just ask second-year Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi about the reality of the sophomore slump as the team's top five-tool prospect has endured quite a bit of it early on in the 2018 season.  Fresh off a terrific rookie campaign in 2017 when he hit 20 home runs, drove in 90, scored 84 times, stole 20 bases, and batted .271; Benintendi was the "must get" young outfielder when fantasy baseball drafts came around.  Yours truly was on board with that setup as I owned Benintendi in the Experts League in 2017 and needless to say, was a firm believer in the talent.  As so often happens though, Benintendi had to deal with opposing pitchers early on who used the entire winter to figure out his weaknesses at the dish and so an early slow start to 2018 is no shock at all.  Going into Wednesday's games, Benintendi was sitting on the following numbers:

.266
3 HR
28 R
22 RBI
7 SB

What quickly stands out from those numbers is the very light power as Benintendi just hit his third home run Tuesday night.  What is interesting is that Benintendi's fly ball rate of 38.9 is just fractions off his 38.4 mark a year ago which doesn't explain the did.  Instead, opposing pitchers have likely found Benintendi's sweet spot for power and are throwing him pitches elsewhere.  Be that as it may, the weather is now heating up in Boston and count on Benintendi adjusting to the pitchers' approach as more home runs begin to fly out. 

As far as the other numbers are concerned, Benintendi is filling it up in the runs column with a very good tally of 28 and his 22 RBI is not bad considering the lack of power.  We like the fact that Benintendi is still showing interest as a base stealer and so that should continue to allow him to approach or hit another 20/20 mark again if all breaks right the rest of the way.

On the bright side as well, Benintendi is continuing to draw a high amount of walks (11.9 BB/9 which is up from 10.6 a year ago) and his strikeout rate is excellent at 16.9 K/9 (again down from 17.0 last season).  Having already hit .305 this month compared to .242 in March/April, Benintendi is starting to really heat up.  That means the numbers will continue to flow and likely at a much higher rate moving towards the rest of the season.  Now is about the last chance you will have to buy low on Benintendi but if you are already a lucky owner, take comfort in the fact he will be supplying those numbers you anticipated real soon. 


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