MLB Rookie Profile: Andrew Benintendi
Andrew Benintendi is a Cincinnati native who was born July 6, 1994. Benintendi attended Madeira High School, and as a senior he batted a .564 average with twelve home runs and fifty-seven runs batted in. In addition to this extremely impressive stat line, he also stole thirty-eight bags in the same year. He was named the Rawlings National High School Player of the Year and the Ohio Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. In the 31st round, the Cincinnati Reds drafted Benintendi out of high school. However, he chose not to sign and instead attended the University of Arkansas and played baseball there.
As a true freshman in college, Benintendi hit .276 with .368 on-base percentage and a .333 slugging percentage. In 2015 he led the SEC (Southeastern Conference) in five different categories. He hit .380 with nineteen home runs, .489 on-base percentage, .715 slugging, and forty-seven walks. This led to him being named the SEC Player of the Year. He also won the Baseball America College Player of the Year Award, the Dick Howser Trophy, and the Golden Spikes Award. After all of his college success, he was considered one of the top prospects for the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft.
Benintendi was once again drafted, but this time he was picked seventh overall by the Boston Red Sox. He received a $3.6 million signing bonus and made his professional debut with the Lowell Spinners — a Class A-Short Season affiliate. After the finish of the 2015 season, he began the 2016 season with the Class A-Advanced Salem Red Sox. On Salem, Benintendi hit .341 with eighteen doubles and thirty-two runs batted in. He was then promoted to the Class AA Portland Sea Dogs on May 15.
On August 2, 2016, Benintendi got the call to go straight up to the big league club only 421 days after being drafted. In his major league debut against the Seattle Mariners, he came in as a pinch hitter and recorded his first major league hit on August 3. On August 21, Benintendi played against the Detroit Tigers and recorded his first major league triple and a home run. In a shortened MLB season, Benintendi hit .295 with eleven hits, two home runs, and fourteen runs batted in.
So far in the 2017 season, Benintendi has been on fire, hitting .347 with twenty-five hits, four doubles, and one home run. He also has eleven runs batted in, a .415 on base percentage, and .444 slugging percentage.
Benintendi has been considered one of the league’s top prospects since he was drafted by the Red Sox and has proved that he is worth the hype surrounding his entrance into professional baseball. Over his short term in the minors and his brief stint in the majors, he has been nothing short of impressive. After a hot start to the 2017 season, look for Benintendi to do more of the same in the rest of his rookie campaign!