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. I 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.