Red Sox Must Hold On To First Place!

For the first time since July, the Red Sox are back in first place! All these months, they’ve managed to stay in the fight. Needless to say, those teams have challenged Red Sox in many ways. They’ve faced injuries and bad pitching. Since they’ve made it this far, the Red Sox must hold on to first place if they want to stay in the race.

After an inconsistent first half, David Price has retaken control of his game. He’s 15-8Red Sox Must Hold with 201 strikeouts in a league-leading 197.2 inning as of September 8th. And what about Rick Porcello? The man leads the American League with 19 wins, well on his way to a 20 game-winning season. It won’t surprise anyone if Porcello snags a Cy Young Award. While Steven Wright remains on the DL, he’s given more this season than anyone expected him to. What’s particularly amazing is that the Red Sox won as many games with these starting pitchers, who can’t always rely on good relievers to save the game. But that’s partly because Koji Uehara went on the disabled list. Hopefully he and Craig Kimbrel can pick up the slack.

The Red Sox Must Hold Onto The Rookies, Too!

More than a few people snickered when Andrew Benintendi, and Yoan Moncada joined the team. Some thought it was too soon, including me. But they’re both great players (as long as they stay healthy). While Moncada holds his own, the question is whether Benintendi can pick up where he left off. He collected 22 hits in 68 at-bats for a .324 average before his injury sidelined him. Not bad for a 22 year old who skipped AAA.

September, always an exciting month for baseball, is giving fans a lot to cheer about, especially in the AL East. The Boston Red Sox will battle other AL teams in the homestretch, which will reveal who will go to the playoffs, and who will go home. The Red Sox must hold onto first place if they want a piece of that action. After two losing seasons, they owe it to Boston to finish strongly.

The Red Sox have to bring home another championship, but also because I already reserved my World Series tickets!

Red Sox Cannot Catch a Break

Boston let out a collective gasp when Red Sox rookie Andrew Benintendi sprained his leg this past week. “Say it ain’t so!” seems to be the Red Sox motto this season. Injuries have plagued others players like Blake Swihart, Chris Young, Brock Holt, and Koji Uehara. These injuries haven’t only kept our best players out of the lineup, but have kept the Red Sox from securing first place. With the Baltimore Orioles falling behind, the Red Sox have a strong chance to capture first place. But as of late, it seems like the Red Sox cannot catch a break.

The Red Sox started the season in strong fashion. Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, andRed Sox Cannot Xander Bogaerts’ bats were on fire. The pitching rotation was amazing. The bullpen was unstoppable.

Then the injuries started.

Brock Holt got another concussion. Chris Young went onto the DL. Josh Rutledge got hurt. Koji Uehara hurt himself. Blake Swiart hurt his leg. Joe Kelly got hurt. Craig Kimbrel got hurt. Meanwhile, the Red Sox swayed back and forth in the AL East between the Blue jays and Orioles. Just like me with past romantic relationships, anytime they seemed to finally gain an advantage they’d blow it.

Red Sox Cannot Get A Break. Is There Still Time To Recover?

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I really think John Farrell needs to go. While injuries have put a huge dent in the amount of wins the Red Sox have accumulated this season, he hasn’t helped. I’ve questioned Farrell’s relief pitching choices more than once. Two pitchers who haven’t been injured much are Clay Buchholz and Junichi Tazawa but you wouldn’t know it based on their poor performance this season, and Farrell keeps using them. While Buchholz is starting to “coming around” a little, for lack of a better term, Tazawa isn’t getting much better.

The Red Sox are in a much stronger position than many think to reclaim first and keep it. The pitching rotation is coming around (finally), the relief pitchers are finding a groove, and the hitters are learning from mistakes. There’s no reason why that can’t begin to gel over and solidify.

The Red Sox cannot catch a break. They’ve been like a tarp flapping in the wind since June. They now have a chance to tie themselves down and focus on making it to the playoffs. Let’s hope they tie themselves down as tightly as possible.

Is Benintendi Proving To Be The Real Deal?

I was concerned when the Red Sox called up Andrew Benintendi from the minors. The kid hadn’t even played in AAA Pawtucket yet. Regardless, Dave Dombrowski and John Farrell were eager to put him in the lineup. I thought Benintendi would have a hard time hitting against major league pitchers. I also thought about his lack of strength. He’s not nearly as big as his teammates. However, after almost two dozen games, while it’s great to see Benintendi proving himself, we have yet to see if he’s a fluke or the real thing. Will Benintendi maintain his consistency?

As of August 23rd, Benintendi is carrying a .306 batting average. That’s not too bad inBenintendi Proving 62 at-bats. It’s certainly better than what Jackie Bradley Jr. had his first year in Boston. In 2013, Bradley Jr. hit only .189 in 95 at-bats. Xander Bogaerts didn’t fare much better during the same time. So to see Benintendi proving himself by posting respectable numbers in that many at-bats is a sign that he could be the real deal.

One thing that people don’t discuss about Benintendi is his fielding. Before he was called up, Benintendi made zero errors in 143 chances in Double-A Portland. Before Portland, he made only one error in Single-A Salem. The same goes for the season before. In 2015 he made only one error in 131 chances at Single-A. That mades for  a.994 fielding percentage over two seasons in the minors. Not too shabby.

 It’s Great To See Benintendi Proving Himself At Defense, Too!

On August 22nd in a game against Tampa, Benintendi robbed Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza Jr. of a two-run home run in the eighth inning. Benintendi defied both gravity and the left field wall to keep the Rays from scoring another two runs. Earlier in the game, Benintendi drove in a run in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly. At this point, it is safe to say that Benintendi has delivered on the expectations Dombrowski and Farrell set for the rookie when he arrived in Boston. Now Benintendi has to prove that he’s the real deal by continuing to adjust his skills to maintain his success at the plate. We have yet to see if he can do so. But one thing is for sure. He’s off to a great start!

Benintendi Promotion To Majors Should Wait

If you’re like me, then you’re tracking Andrew Benintendi’s progress through the Red Sox farm system. The Red Sox announced the Benintendi promotion within hours after a tense but anti-climactic trade deadline. Many fans rejoiced at this move, especially since Benintendi plays left field. If Benintendi can fill that void in left field, which hasn’t been consistently patrolled by anyone lately, he could earn a permanent spot on the roster. Despite Benintendi’s success in the minors, his true test is yet to come. Personally, I think it’s too soon for a Benintendi promotion. Here me out.

One could argue that Benintendi has to get his feet wet in the majors at some point. IBenintendi promotion don’t disagree. But bypassing him from Portland straight to the Red Sox this fast? Most players have a hard enough time coming up from Pawtucket. Why would Beintendi be any different?

Let’s look at some of our current stars who stumbled during their first few years. Jackie Bradley Jr. is now an All-Star centerfielder. He has a cannon for an arm, and he’s finally posting a strong batting average. But in 2014, Bradley Jr. posted a .198 batting average in 384 at-bats. That average came a year after he hit .275 in AAA Pawtucket. Mookie Betts didn’t have a bad rookie year. He hit .291 in 189 at-bats. But he hit .335 in Pawtucket in almost the same amount of at-bats that same year. That’s a 44 point drop. Benintendi’s stats show he has a hard time adjusting after a promotion.

The other reason I believe Benintendi is too young is that Major League pitchers and coaches have probably had a chance to study him for a while now. Benintendi, however, probably hasn’t had that same chance given his soon he’s been called up. Is he prepared? In A+ Salem this year, Benintendi hit .341 in 135 at-bats. His average dropped 46 points to .291 when he moved up to Double-A Portland. Seeing a drop in one’s batting average after a promotion is to be expected. But 46 points? That’s hard to ignore.

Benintendi Promotion Doesn’t Consider Dimensions of Fenway Park.

My final concern about Benintendi is that he’s a lefty. He’s only 5’10 and 170 lbs. He’s not strong enough yet to hit home runs (He looks so small in a batting helmet too). Why is this a bad thing? While he’s his twelve triples in the minors this season, as a lefty, those triples are going to turn into flyouts in Fenway Park. The right field line in Single-A Salem Red Sox Memorial Baseball Stadium is 325 feet long. The right field line in Double-A Portland’s Hadlock Field is 330. The right field line in Fenway Park might only be 302 feet, but deep right field is 380 feet. That difference of 78 feet between right and deep right is more than enough room for opposing outfielders to snag Benintendi’s line drives.

Some say that Dombrowski is promoting Benintenid to fill a void in left field because of all the injuries to this season’s left fielders. But Fenway Park doesn’t have just any left field. It has the Green Monster. Anyone who has played left field at Fenway will tell you it’s a difficult wall to patrol. You never know how far a ball will bounce, or if it’ll just drop like a rock. I’m willing to bet that Benintendi has NO experience playing a left field wall like that.

This Andrew Benintendi promotion is premature. Given him a few more months in Double-A before moving him up to Pawtucket. By the time he’s had some at-bats in AAA, he should be prepared to make his debut with the Boston Red Sox.

Red Sox Promote Andrew Benintendi

Overnight, the Red Sox promoted prized prospect Andrew Benintendi to the Major Leagues, adding to the trade deadline intrigue. Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald broke the news, and Michael Martinez was designated for assignment to make way for Benintendi. The outfielder will join the team in Seattle on Tuesday.

Who is Andrew Benintendi?

Andrew Benintendi

Benintendi was a first round pick in the 2015 draft, and his rise has been meteoric. He reached Single-A in his first professional season, and has dominated this year, too. A .312/.378/.532 slash line at High-A Salem earned Benintendi a promotion to Double-A Portland. In 63 games with the Sea Dogs, he slashed .295/.357/.515 with 8 home runs and 44 RBI. That piqued the attention of Dave Dombrowski, who will slot the 22-year old in left field amid a heated pennant race.

Andrew Benintendi is the Red Sox’ number two prospect, behind Yoan Moncada. A lefty hitter, he is above average in every facet of the game, with obvious upside offensively. His promotion should provide a jolt of energy to the Red Sox, with Brock Holt likely sliding back into a utility role.

The Risk of Skipping Triple-A

Even though Benintendi is very highly rated, this is a risky move. The guy has still only played 151 professional baseball games. None of them were above Double-A. By all account, his makeup and ability should enable a smooth transition, but skipping an entire level of minor league development is rarely advisable. Whether people like it or not, Andrew Benintendi will still have plenty to learn. The Red Sox just figure that process should happen at the Major League level.

Benintendi is likely to be in uniform tonight against the Mariners. His debut will come Wednesday, as the youngster is given time to settle. Andrew is likely to see plenty of playing time against right-handed pitching, with further opportunities arising based on his performance. He will join other young stars like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts to create a great core for the Red Sox.

“Our people kept coming up and saying, ‘We think he can play at the big league level,'” said Dombrowski. “Don’t look for him to hit in the middle of the lineup like he will eventually, but he’s a well-rounded player, he’s a good defensive player, and he runs the bases well. He has a good arm, we’ve been working him out at left field and he’s been able to play the wall well in Portland there.”

It will be fun to see how this plays out. Every young player is likely to struggle at some point, especially after jumping two whole levels in a system. But the future face of your Boston Red Sox has arrived. Andrew Benintendi has reached the Majors. It’s time to get excited.

Will the Red Sox Acquire Anyone Today?

We are in the final hours of Major League Baseball’s trade deadline. Will the Boston Red Sox acquire anyone before 4pm? It’s not looking like Dave Dombrowski will make any deals today, at least not yet. But with names like Andrew Benintendi and Christian Vazquez coming up as players the Red Sox might trade, it’s hard to say. Other prospects like Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and Rafael Davers are also trending on Twitter in relation to possible trades. With players like Chris Sale, Carlos Beltran, and Jonathan Lucroy up for grabs, anything is possible!

To see Benintendi traded, one of Boston’s top prospects, would shock the Red Sox Nation, especiallyRed sox acquire when many believe Benintendi is an untouchable prospect. After all, he has an amazing history. Initially drafted by the Cincinatti Reds in the 31st round of the 2013 MLB draft, Benintendi instead enrolled at the University of Arkansas. In 2015, Benentendi led the Southeastern Conference with a .380 batting average and 19 home runs before being named the SEC Player of the Year and winning the Baseball America College Player of the Year Award. He was drafted again in 2015, this time by the Boston Red Sox as a seventh overall draft pick with a $3.6 million bonus. Benintendi debuted with the Lowell Spinners in the Class-A New York-Penn League later that year.

Some believe Andrew Benintendi could be the next Carl Yastrzemski. He’s currently hitting over .300 between stints at Single and Double-A levels. His twelve triples alone signify his developing strength and speed. Between his power, speed, and eye coordination, the Red Sox can’t let an offensive and defensive asset slip away. It’s a little harder to say the same about Christian Vazquez. Vazquez is a good defensive player. But he’s an offensive dud.

If Red Sox Acquire Sale, It Shouldn’t Be For Benentendi, Moncada, or Kopech.

Personally, I think it would be a bad idea to let Andrew Benintendi go. Benintendi’s strengths and potential outweigh any reason to trade him. And as I’ve said before, I strongly doubt that Chris Sale is worth trading Benintendi for. He’s an excellent pitcher, but  he’s totally unstable. Our pitchers need run support, not an addition. The Red Sox currently lead the American League in runners left on base. Instead of worrying about pitching, we should focus on clutch hitting. So with that said, it might make more sense if the Red Sox acquire Lucroy or Beltran. Beltran is a .300 hitter with runners on base, and runners in scoring position. So get them for Vazquez or Blake Swiart (and throw Clay Buchholz in too). We don’t need pitching. We need clutch hitters.