Andrew Benintendi Looking to Take Next Step

Portland Sea Dogs outfielder Andrew Benintendi, one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system, has gotten off to a slow start in Portland. Benintendi is rated the 15th best prospect by Baseball America. This is his second year in minor league baseball following being the first round pick by the Sox out of the University of Arkansas in 2015.

In 198 at bats in 2015, Benintendi hit 11 homers with a .313 batting average. FollowingAndrew Benintendi this season, people were aware of what he could do. He showed decent speed as well with 10 steals, only being caught three times. With his strong first season, many expected him to build upon that in his second year.

Benintendi started this season at High A Salem. In 135 at bats, he hit .341 with one homer and stole 8 bases, only getting caught two times. Following his start at Salem, Benintendi received the promotion to Portland. While Triple A is the highest minor league baseball game, Double A always seems to be better baseball to watch because of the youth in the game rather than the career minor league players that you tend to see at Pawtucket. With the promotion, Benintendi was at a much improved level. Would he continue to grow and turn into an elite prospect?

So far at Portland, Benintendi is off to a slow start, batting just .214 in 42 at bats with no homers. He has also has stolen three bases but been caught stealing twice, showing the improvement in catching at this level. His struggles don’t necessarily suggest anything as it is still early but it is a cause for concern as he is likely a guy the Sox are considering trading at the deadline. Will Benintendi turn it around in time for the Sox to shop him as an elite prospect?

In these next few weeks, Benintendi will turn the corner. He has started to show flashes of doing so in his last three games, two of them multi hit games. As a groomed hitter coming from the college game and being 21 years old, his path to the major leagues will be much shorter than most prospects as he adjusts to the higher levels quickly. However, Sox fans should be hoping he’s wearing another uniform in return for quality starting pitching.

 

Red Sox Quarterly Review

If you can believe it, we’re already a quarter of the way through the baseball season. That means there’s still a lot of games left to be played, but there’s also a considerable amount already in the books–enough to draw somewhat meaningful conclusions from. With that in mind, it’s time for the Red Sox quarterly review.

Red Sox Quarterly Review: Mostly Good…

A great lineup can carry a team all the way to the championship, so it’s encouraging that people are already ranking Boston’s offense among the best of all-time (and that’s despite a disappointing start from Mookie Betts and next to nothing from Christian Vazquez)Red Sox Quarterly Review. The Sox currently lead the MLB in just about every hitting category under the sun, and after taking a quick look around the diamond it’s not hard to see why. Hanley Ramirez is productive again after injuries sabotaged his season last year, and Dustin Pedroia is hitting as well as he ever has. Xander Bogaerts continues to grow offensively, Travis Shaw has been a revelation at third, and Brock Holt is off to one of his patented hot starts in left.

Given all that firepower, it’s surprising that Boston’s two best hitters have been a 40-year-old DH and the team’s number-nine hitter. The former, David Ortiz, is having one of the best seasons ever for a player his age, making his decision to retire after this year look incredibly premature. Perhaps his wisdom is rubbing off on Jackie Bradley, Jr., who has finally learned how to hit at age 26, which is around the same age Ortiz emerged as a dominant force. Bradley’s hitting just as well as Ortiz, and while his breakout may not be sustainable, he doesn’t have to hit anywhere near this good to be valuable thanks to his stellar defense in center.

Boston’s also benefited from similarly unexpected breakthroughs in the  rotation. Knuckleballer Steven Wright has been the team’s best pitcher thus far, something nobody saw coming from  a 31-year-old with 11 career starts under his belt before this year. He’s had help from Rick Porcello, who remembered how to throw his sinker after over-relying on his fastball last year and is pitching like the number-two Ben Cherington signed him to be.

As expected, the bullpen’s been dynamite with Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel nailing down games. Just wait until Carson Smith gets back in the swing of things.

…But Some Bad

With Boston leading baseball in every conceivable offensive metric and mere percentage points out of first in the AL East, there’s not a whole lot of bad in this Red Sox quarterly review. But the Red Sox haven’t been perfect, otherwise they’d be 41-0 and I’d be writing about Joe Kelly’s Cy Young chances. But I’m not, because Kelly has been hurt and terrible. Clay Buchholz has also been terrible, but at least he’s not hurt (yet).

Boston’s biggest concern has to be its $31 million ace, who hasn’t pitched like one this year. David Price has been erratic, capable of overpowering opponents with his electric stuff but also struggling against weak lineups. His peripherals suggest he’s going to be fine, but the fact remains that he has not provided a good return on investment so far.

Neither has Boston’s $17 million third baseman, who won’t be manning the hot corner anytime soon after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in early May. Pablo Sandoval’s contract is looking like a sunk cost, but so did John Lackey’s before he righted the ship.

Red Sox Quarterly Review Grade: A

With a prolific offense, solid rotation and shutdown bullpen, Boston looks like postseason contenders.

Dwight Evans’ Number Should Be Retired Too

I was happy when the Boston Red Sox announced that they would retire Wade Boggs’ jersey number 26 this year. Boggs played in Boston for ten years but departed in 1993 for the  Yankees in New York before finally being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 with 91.9% of the vote on the first ballot. There’s no question as to whether Dwight EvansBoggs’ number should be retired, but it will only be the ninth number ever retired by the Red Sox (excluding Jackie Robinson’s number 42, whose number was universally retired across Major League Baseball in 1997). When you look at the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals have retired twelve numbers, and the New York Yankees have retired eighteen, it makes you wonder if the Red Sox are being too conservative in choosing whose numbers to retire, especially Dwight Evans’ number 24.

The Boston Red Sox have three requirements for a player’s number to be retired: be in the Hall of Fame, have played at least ten years in Boston, and finish their career with the Red Sox (though that rule has been relaxed in recent years). Only five of the current players whose numbers are retired meet these requirements; Johnny Pesky isn’t in the Hall of Fame, while Pedro Martinez didn’t play a full ten years in Boston and, along with Carlton Fisk, finished his career elsewhere. These exceptions should pave the way for Dwight Evans.

Dwight Evans By the Numbers

Let’s take a look at his numbers. While Dwight Evans isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame, his numbers reflect a career worthy of induction. He was a three-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glove winner, led the league at least once in on-base percentage, runs, total bases, home runs, and walks. He ranks in the top 50 all time in games played (2,606), home runs (385), and walks (1,391). Evans also hit four home runs on opening days in his career, including one on the very first pitch of the season. What Evans might best be remembered for is the unbelievable catch he made in right field during Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Evans robbed the Reds’ Joe Morgan of a possible home run, leading the stunned Cincinnati Reds’ manager Sparky Anderson to say, “It was an outstanding catch. The best catch I’ve ever seen.” Given his offensive numbers, his exceptional defensive skills, and his overall dependability, Evans’ number 24 should be retired alongside Boggs’.

The Red Sox should take a closer look at what numbers they are overlooking for retirement, starting with Dwight Evans. He played his heart out every day he wore a Red Sox uniform and the man deserves no less.

Red Sox Unveil “Franchise Four”

Around the MLB, teams unveiled their “Franchise Four,” the 4 best players in franchise history as voted on by the fans. For the Red Sox, David Ortiz, Ted Williams, Pedro Martinez, and Carl Yastremski were chosen.

All of those guys have their merits, and all of them are legends in their own right, but the Red Soxone player that I would question is David Ortiz (no, this isn’t about him being sent home Sunday). We all know what he’s done with his bat, especially in the playoffs. He had a number of clutch hits in 2004, helping the Red Sox break the “Curse of the Bambino.” In 2013, he was a one man wrecking crew in helping the Red Sox top the Cardinals in 6 games that year. This is all subjective, but I would question the wisdom of putting him ahead of guys like Luis Tiant, Carlton Fisk and other such Red Sox legends. My main reservation is that he hardly ever played defense, but you could make the reverse argument for a Luis Tiant and a Pedro Martinez, who only pitched and hardly ever hit.

But, again, this kind of thing is always subjective and people will always have their own thoughts on this. Ultimately, David Ortiz’s impact on this team in the past decade plus is undeniable, and he does have a strong case to be up there. Without him, we don’t win 3 championships in a decade and break the Curse. He also is making a push for 500 home runs this season, which would be huge for him.

For me, the other guys are no brainers. Ted Williams was the only guy to hit over .400 in a season, Pedro Martinez is one of the greatest pitchers in Red Sox history, and Yaz finished his 22 year career with the Sox with 452 home runs and a .285 career average. But, it is hard to narrow the Red Sox Mount Rushmore down to 4 guys, and everyone will have their own opinions on who should be up there, especially with so many guys to choose from.

Kung Fu Panda Sneaks Chic Pix in Can, Benched Thursday

What do you do when you’re getting paid $17,600,000, your team is in dead last place, and you’re barely hitting your weight?  Sneak into the john during a game and start liking pictures of hot girls on Instagram, that’s what you do! Just ask Kung Fu Panda.

Pablo Sandoval did just that during the seventh inning of yet another Red Sox loss onPanda Pablo Sandoval Wednesday, and the result was that Panda sat on the bench last, (without his cell phone.) The Red Sox, by the way, won without him, beating the Atlanta Braves by a score of 5-2. Rookie Travis Shaw filled in for Sandoval, and despite going 0 for 4 was solid defensively. He apparently went the entire game with logging onto Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, or any other sites.

In 2011, it was fried chicken and beer that symbolized the Red Sox season. It seems that Sandoval would have been a better fit that year, being able to duck in and out of the clubhouse for the all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffets that Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Josh Beckett were a part of. This year the curse could be social media.

Rather than going onto Instagram during games, here are some suggested sites that would much better serve the round mound of the corner bag: weightwatchers.com, jennycraig.com, myfitnesspal.com, mensfitness.com, loseweightandhitbetter.com, earnyoureighteenmillionayear.com, actlikeyoucare.com, gobacktosf.com, or even howdidweletbeltregetaway.com.

One of the few bright lights in this dark season has been Brock Holt. He hustles, hits, and gives 100% each team he puts on the Red Sox uniform. He can play anywhere, and he’s a better bargain than Sandoval.  Holt is making $530,500, and that is $17,069,500 less than Sandoval.  Pound for pound, Holt is a better player.

Perhaps Panda will be remorseful, and this will be the turning point in a season that is apparently on a road to nowhere. Sandoval brought this on himself, so it’s impossible to feel sorry for him. The one I feel sorry for is whoever had to use the bathroom after big ole sweaty Panda got done with his seated performance on Wednesday night.

Wade Miley Gets Yanked After Four, Has Acidic Reaction To It

This insufferable summer has taken another bizarre twist.  Thursday night in Baltimore, Red Sox starting pitcher Wade Miley was informed by John Farrell in the dugout following the fourth inning that he was done for the night.  Miley immediately threw a fit, showing up his manager and then storming out of the dugout, with Farrell in tow. Miley later resurfaced and watched the rest of the game with his teammates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxVzR4ysGP0

What right did Miley have to be upset?  He threw four innings, gave up nine hits (three of them home runs) and five earned runs.  His ERA is now 5.07, which is good for 89th overall in the American League. In his last three starts he is 1-2 and has given up 12 earned runs. Not exactly the second coming of Cy Young here.  Additionally, he’s making $3,666,666 this year, and will make $6,167,000 next year and then in 2017 he’ll pocket $8,917,000.

So Miley’s mad that his manager yanked him? C’mon! The Sox were only down by two at that point, and not completely out of the game, even for the. Farrell was trying to avoid being swept. Miley Cyrus could have probably pitched better last night than Wade Miley, and she wouldn’t have thrown a temper tantrum in the dugout, she would have waited until later to get in trouble with the law.

Farrell’s reaction after the game was that Miley’s a competitor and it was his day to pitch. Lame, yes, but did you expect Farrell to state that Miley stunk and probably should have been yanked earlier?  Miley also pulled a similar stunt in Arizona last year when he was pulled in the third inning of a game and threw a hissy fit with manager Kirk Gibson.  Too bad Gibson didn’t just lay him out.

The only highlight that came out of last night was when Dennis Eckersley, during the post-game show, wondered aloud if Wade Miley was on acid when discussing his outburst.