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.

Red Sox Fans Look Ahead to the Trade Deadline

With Memorial Day behind us, attention is slowly turning towards the trade deadline in Major League Baseball. For perhaps the first time since 2013, the Red Sox are in a strong position as the calendar flips to June, which means they should be buyers in the market, looking to add pieces for a championship run rather than selling them to assist a rebuild.

Trade deadline

Right now, Dave Dombrowski doesn’t need to worry about offense or defense. The Red Sox lead baseball in almost every offensive category, and the everyday lineup could produce some historic numbers before the season is over. Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts have taken another step forward. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are turning back the clock with tremendous performances. And even unheralded guys like Travis Shaw and Christian Vazquez have taken their turn leading this team. All around the diamond, the Red Sox are really solid with the leather, which is also fun to see.

So, we come to the one area where Boston must improve: pitching. At this point, almost everybody on the planet must know that the Red Sox lack elite rotation depth. Boston starters have a 4.57 ERA, thanks mostly to Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly. That ranks 21st in baseball, and must improve if Boston is to compete for a World Series championship.

What Can the Red Sox Give Up at the Trade Deadline?

We’ve already heard enough about potential trade targets for the Red Sox, and those discussions will intensify in the coming weeks. By the time July arrives, you will likely be tired of hearing about Sonny Gray and Julio Teheran, so it’s time to take a different approach. Let’s look not at what the Red Sox can acquire at the trade deadline, but rather what they can actually give up. Who, exactly, are their most realistic trade chips?

By hiring Dombrowski, signing David Price and acquiring Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox signaled a shift in philosophy, away from prospect conservation and toward a win-now mentality. However, we live in an age where sustainable contention is only achievable by delivering constant waves of young talent to the major league roster. Therefore, it’s still safe to assume that certain elite prospects are untouchable in trade deadline negotiations. Personally, I would include the following players in that group: Betts, Bogaerts, Yoan Moncada, and Andrew Benintendi.

Due to a very deep system, that still leaves plenty of chips with which Dombrowski can work. Down on the farm, guys like Rafael Devers, Anderson Espinoza, Brian Johnson and Michael Kopech may be expendable, although the latter three are promising pitchers in an organization starved of talent at that position. Elsewhere, fringe big leaguers like Henry Owens and Rusney Castillo may also be better utilized as trade deadline currency at this point.

Yet, at present, I think the Red Sox’ biggest trade chip is Blake Swihart. He possess a really strong bat with plenty of upside, but has struggled defensively behind the plate. Given the dearth of catching talent, many teams would overlook that deficiency in favor of his offense, but the Red Sox are in a position where their lineup is so dominant that carrying an elite defensive catcher like Christian Vazquez is preferable. That leaves Swihart without a position and, perhaps, without a future in Boston.

Ultimately, Dombrowski has many options as he attempts to tweak and improve his team. For that, he can thank Ben Cherington and – to a lesser extent – Theo Epstein, who did tremendous work stockpiling such a wide array of young talent. Now might be the time to flip some of these prospects for a true difference-maker in 2016 and beyond. With young stars blooming at the major league level, the future has finally arrived for the Red Sox. The trade deadline is an opportunity to grasp it and take full advantage.

Scout Says Yoan Moncada is Close to Mike Trout

We all know what Mike Trout can do. He is one of the most complete players in baseball right now, and the Red Sox might have the next player who can come close to him in Yoan Moncada, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan quoted one scout as saying in his All-Minor League team article.

So, yeah. Not a bad comparison to draw, and one that should get Red Sox fans excited.Yoan Moncada He got off to a slow start, but picked it up in the last 56 games with the Greenville Drive, the Red Sox Single-A affiliate. He slashed .310/.415/.500 with 45 stolen bases in 48 attempts, according to Jeff Passan, but on the flip side, he also committed 23 errors at second base, including 3 in a playoff game over the weekend.

His defense right now is a concern, but Yoan Moncada is only 20 years old, meaning there’s still plenty of time to fix that part of his game. One thing is clear, I think: Once he does clean up that area, he’ll be on the fast track to be a great major league player. Will he be as good as Mike Trout, as the one scout told Jeff Passan? Maybe not, but if he’s in that ballpark, I think Red Sox fans will be happy. Mike Trout is a special player, and if Moncada becomes even close to Trout, that’s fine with me.

Right now, there’s no reason to rush Yoan Moncada up to the big leagues. Personally, I would rather see him take an extra year or so and come up a more complete player, as opposed to him rushing up before he’s ready. There’s no doubting his talent, but I’d rather him work out all of the kinks in his game before he sees any significant action with the big-league Red Sox. Don’t get me wrong, if Jeff Passan is right, then he should be exciting to watch, but right now, he needs to work through the holes in his game, as I mentioned, before he’s ready. But, at least it’s something to get excited about for the future, right?

Matt Harvey an Option for Red Sox

Since it’s never too early to start thinking off-season trades, especially with the Red Sox out of contention for the 2015 season, here’s an idea thrown out by Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe: Xander Bogaerts for Matt Harvey. It’s an interesting option, and it should be interesting to see how many Red Sox fans will be for it. Yes, Xander is one of the best young shortstops in the game, but Matt Harvey is one of the best young pitchers in the game right now.

So, what are the pros and cons of this deal? On the positive side, Matt Harvey is a Matt Harveytalented pitcher, and he is also under contract through 2019, according to the Globe, and would be a team-friendly acquisition money-wise. Matt Harvey, in my mind, is one of the big reasons why the Mets are where they are right now, 5 games ahead of the Washington Nationals atop the NL East. He’s been that good for them.

On the flip side, the Globe points out that he can be a pain and also very cocky, but they Globe is also right in pointing out that the Red Sox have had success dealing with egos like a Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez, to an extent. You take his innings limit (which is set at 180 right now), for example. Matt Harvey has come out staunchly against being shut down with the New York Mets in the midst of a playoff race, which is understandable. I would hate the idea of being shut down as well in his position. He wants to do what he can to help his team win.

But I digress. My point is, the Red Sox could handle Matt Harvey’s sometimes-cocky attitude well because they have done it well in the past

Is the proposed Xander-for-Matt deal fair? Yes, since the Mets need offense and we need pitching, but how many fans would want to give up one of our best young players? I’m guessing not many.  Along with Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, and now Jackie Bradley Jr., many fans consider Bogaerts “untradable,” even for a talented young pitcher like Matt Harvey.

I would love to see Harvey in a Sox uniform, and they do need an ace, but there are other options that wouldn’t involve trading away one of our future stars. And the Red Sox will explore said other options as well. I don’t think Dave Dombrowksi will let the team go to Fort Myers next year without an ace.

Travis Shaw Making His Case for 2016

The good thing about the Red Sox being so far out of playoff contention at the moment is the team getting a good, hard look at some of their guys down on the farm. Notably, guys like Henry Owens and Travis Shaw have gotten an extended look at the big league level, and for the most part they have responded pretty well.

Especially Travis Shaw. With Mike Napoli traded to the Texas Rangers, there is now an Travis Shawopportunity for a guy like Shaw to fill in, and he has responded very well. Since his August 1st call up, he’s hit .372, and has hit all 5 of his big league home run since his call up. Overall, he’s hit .321, 5 home runs and 10 RBI’s in 21 big league games for the Red Sox.

For the time being, Travis Shaw has dismissed any doubts about bringing up Allen Craig from the Pawtucket Red Sox or potentially moving Hanley Ramirez over to first from left field. And, for the time being, can anyone complain about that? His production more than warrants his place in the lineup at the moment, and the other 2 possibilities are far less appealing at the moment.

Hanley’s offensive production has been there for the most part, but his defense is an entirely different story, and the idea of moving him to one of the most important on the field scares me. While Allen Craig might be a better defensive option, his performance at the plate has been pretty disappointing for the most part since being sent to Boston in the deal that sent John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals at the 2014 trade deadline. While Travis Shaw is still finding his feet with the big league team, he is the team’s best option at first base at the moment, outside of possibly Brock Holt, who has shown he can play just about every position.

There is plenty of time between now and Opening Day 2016, but right now, I would put Travis Shaw as the front runner to start at 1st on Opening Day next April. Obviously, a lot can happen between now and then, but I would be happy with him as our Opening Day first baseman.

Andrew Benintendi Already Turning Heads

Andrew Benintendi can play. The Red Sox first pick in the 2015 MLB Draft is already showing the organization that he has some serious potential in his first few months as a member of the Red Sox organization.

Right now, Andrew Benintendi is with the Class A Short-Season Lowell Spinners, but is Andrew Benintendiheading for a late season promotion to Low-A Greenville with the way he has performed so far, according to NESN. He’s shown a little bit of everything in Lowell, hitting .278 with 7 home runs and 6 stolen bases so far in 31 games with the Spinners. He hit 2 home runs on Tuesday, giving him 3 in 3 games. And he’s drawing positive reviews from his coaches. Spinners hitting coach Iggy Saurez said that it seems like nothing bothers him, and wondering how he can be so calm amidst the hype that being picked 7th overall can surely bring, according to NESN.

This speed/power combo that Andrew Benintendi has shown is one of the main reasons the Red Sox were looking at him in the first place. Also worth noting is his plate discipline – he has 23 walks to 15 strikeouts with the Red Sox organization.

Benintendi also mentioned that he is learning a lot, according to NESN, which is a good thing for him, obviously. It’s great to see him putting in the work, and he seems genuinely excited to try and get to the big-league Red Sox, which is a good thing. NESN points out, and rightfully so, that it’s hard to pinpoint where his ceiling is right now, but I think it seems pretty high at the moment. He’s got the work ethic, and the talent to go with it, and I’m really excited to see where this kid can go.

It’s still a while before he’s major-league ready, but if he keeps going like this, then he’ll get there sooner rather than later. It’ll still be interesting to see where he ends up in a couple years, with the Red Sox outfielder situation at the moment, but he has the talent to make an impact. Assuming he keeps putting in the work, which won’t be a problem, I don’t think.