No Longer the Sox Rookie

The Arkansas Razorback alum is in the spotlight today. Andrew Benintendi is entering his 2nd full season with the Boston Red Sox. Sadly, he won’t be basking in the limelight of being the team’s rookie. But, there is no doubt that the 23-year-old left fielder will be in any shadow unless given by the green monster. He had an unbelievable rookie year coming in second place behind Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees for AL Rookie of the Year.

Benny and the Razorbacks

The small, lightweight boy from Madeira, Ohio quickly became a force to be reckoned with in Arizona. He wasn’t just a bench warmer or a place holder. He stepped up and was awarded in doing so. His accolades speak for themselves:

  • Was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team
  • Led Arkansas with 17 stolen base
  • Golden Spikes Award Winner
  • Dick Howser Trophy Winner
  • SEC Male Athlete of the Year
  • Baseball America National Player of the Year
  • Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year
  • SEC Player of the Year (Coaches)
  • All-SEC First Team (Coaches)
  • Louisville Slugger All-America First Team
  • ABCA/Rawlings All-America First Team
  • NCBWA All-America First Team
  • D1Baseball All-America First Team
  • Baseball America All-America First Team
  • Collegiate Baseball All-America First Team
  • NCAA Stillwater Regional All-Tournament Team
  • MLB Draft Pick – No. 7 Overall – Red Sox

Benintendi has quite the college resume for only playing with the Razorbacks for 2 years before entering the MLB draft as a number 7 prospect in the MLB. This is clearly not a normal resume as some collegiate baseball players look to reach the same level as Benintendi in their senior year to get the final push. No doubt the Razorbacks had a special player on their hands.

His Struggles Will Not Stop Him

He had some amazing moments, but he also had moments where he was in a slump. Every player faces these moments and for Andrew’s was slightly more targeted with him being the rookie. Commentators and fans doubted him. But there was no way he would let himself be known as just an okay baseball player. He was in his prime the season before his rookie year, being called up into the big leagues. That came to an abrupt stop on August 24, 2016, while playing the Rays. He has always had a problem with his knee but this sprain seemed to be the one to take him out. Throughout the 2017 season if his knee was hit or he tweaked it slightly the coaches took many precautions when making sure the healing process was never interrupted.

Rookie Season: A Quick Overview

“It felt good to get it out of the way. It’s just one of those things you dream about your entire life. I got to first base and it kind of set in.” Andrew Benintendi on first major league hit.

Opening day at Fenway in 2017 and Andrew Benintendi, number 16, left fielder, was introduced to the Red Sox Nation. He had the looks and was certainly very humble and honored to be a part of the team. There are a handful of moments that truly stood out for Mr. Benintendi that will stay in the minds of the Sox fans for years.

Up first is the over the wall catch in Tampa Bay. To this day people still wonder how he did it. The rookie made a risky move and succeeded. Not many can say that they flung themselves over a wall onto a table to catch a baseball and only came out of it a little sore.

Up second is the way he protects the monster. Not many left fielders can succeed when it comes to the beloved monster at Fenway. But Benny caught on quick and learned how to use the wall. It’s not easy and he has work to do, but it’s now known that he can play the wall.

Lastly, his swing. He has the beautiful stance. The breathtaking form. When he hits the ball and it goes where it needs to, it truly is perfect. He plays with passion and doesn’t take or for granted. He always talks about how he wants to be better. The 23-year-old seems to focus on something new every day.

Looking into the Future for Benintendi

Hardworking and humble are just a few words to describe the young man. I can see him being in a Sox uniform for many years. He’s made the special bond with his teammates and truly loves playing in the city of Boston.

“Just the presence he has, he’s always under control. He controls his at-bats. He’s going to be good for a long time.” -Dustin Pedroia on Andrew Benintendi

Sources

NBC Sports

MLB

Arizona Razorbacks Baseball


View the original article on Red Sox Extra: Andrew Benintendi: From Rookie to Key Player