The Red Sox three starting outfielders have very different starts to the 2018 season. Mookie Betts has been perhaps the best player in baseball while Jackie Bradley has been a liability with the bat. However Andrew Benintendi, who has one of the highest ceilings of the Red Sox young core, has started to come into his own. The former Arkansas Razorback started the season struggling. But over the last twenty-three games he has hit his stride giving the Red Sox a lethal one-two punch at the top of the lineup. Benintendi was expected to take on a big role in the Red Sox offense and lately he’s shown why.
Benintendi’s Cold Start
Entering 2018, Andrew Benintendi was coming off a rookie season in which he finished second in Rookie-of-the-Year voting. He started out that impressive season on fire. However, this season has not been as easy for the former first-round pick. Through the Red Sox first twenty one games Benintendi batted .218 with a .706 on-base percentage. He was hitting with little power as three of his five home runs on the season have come in his last fifty eight at bats. Benintendi was streaky with the bat last year going into into slumps every other month. He has emerged from this slump as one of the hottest hitters in baseball.
Benintendi Breaks Out
Over his last twenty three games the Red Sox left fielder has hit .340 with a .959 on base percentage. This has raised his average on the season to .275 and ops to .816. In his last fifteen games he has fourteen runs batted in. He now has the third most RBI on the team. His power has been on display as Benintendi hit home runs in both of the Red Sox last two games. This has been a welcoming sign for the Red Sox as his bat makes the Red Sox lineup much deeper. Even though Benintendi struggled with the bat, his defense was still exceptional.
Can Benintendi Keep This Up?
As a rookie, the former first-round pick showed why the Red Sox have high expectations for Benintendi. The key will be consistency and avoiding prolonged slumps. Hitting behind Mookie, he will get plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. Over the last twenty three games he has been the player everyone expected. With Benintendi hitting his stride, the Red Sox become a more dangerous team offensively.