Jamie Gatlin | October 27th, 2019
Ever since Andrew Benintendi made his MLB debut in 2016, the Ohio native has been viewed as a key part of the Red Sox future. After a productive Junior season, he entered 2019 with hopes of becoming the next Red Sox star. Like many of his teammates, however, the season turned out to be full of failure. As the Red Sox look to return to contention, the play of Benintendi will be key as they try to build their next championship team.
Following a solid 2018 campaign, Benintendi took a step back in every offensive category. The Arkansas product hit a career-low .265 and drove in 68 runs after driving in 87 last season. He also struck out a career-high 140 times and only walked 59 times the second-lowest total of his career. For the first time in his MLB career, Benintendi seemed lost at the plate and spent the majority of the season searching for answers.
Additionally, Benintendi spent much of 2019 bouncing up and down the lineup. He began 2019 batting leadoff but went 3-37 with 15 strikeouts. Although he continued to be a doubles machine, Benintendi finished the season with only 233 total bases. After an impressive playoff run in 2018, the former first-round pick will spend the offseason trying to rediscover his game.
Although the Red Sox Left Fielder struggled mightily in the batter’s box, he also wasn’t the same on the basepaths. For the first time since 2016, Benintendi failed to reach the 20 stolen base mark. The Red Sox left fielder only scored 72 runs, and his WAR decreased by two points.
Despite Benintendi’s struggles, he will be a prime candidate for a bounce-back season in 2020. Last year was the first time he had struggled in the majors, which is part of becoming a better player. Although he has never been a power hitter, Benintendi has always been an on-base threat. Despite his pasts success, he will enter next season with little room for error.
With the Red Sox offense returning most of their stars, the expectations won’t be different for Benintendi heading into next season. Although the Red Sox wouldn’t mind a little more power, that is not what has made Benintendi successful.
As the Red Sox undergo a period full of change, 2020 may determine how Benintendi factors into this team’s plans. Both Mookie and Jackie Bradley Jr. have been mentioned heavily in trade rumors meaning that on opening day in 2020, the Red Sox outfield could look dramatically different.
Regardless of the future plays out, Benintendi will enter 2020 with a lot to prove in a season that could define his career.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images