- Tim Burke
Benny Biceps is back and he's not going anywhere
2019 has been the most disappointing season of Andrew Benintendi’s young career. He was one of the Red Sox most hyped prospects in recent years and even ranked #1 in baseball by MLB.com heading into the 2017 season. He became an instant fan favorite for being a natural ball player with Steve Harrington type hair and one of the smoothest left handed swings you will ever see. He has been a very good left fielder but people have always wanted more out of the prospect who had great expectations. This season was expected to be his breakout year but he has been struggling for a large portion of this season and has admitted he’s not the same player as he was in 2018. People have been frustrated with “Benny Biceps” but he's turning it around. Here is why I believe Benintendi is going to have a break out second half.
Andrew Benintendi just turned 25 on July 6th. He’s still young and is going through learning curves that every young player (not named Mike Trout) goes through early in their careers. Xander Boegarts was the streakiest hitter on the planet during the 2014 and 2016 seasons. Also if I remember correctly he had a pretty disappointing 2017 with fans feeling very frustrated with young shortstop. Then Xander put together his best season of his career in 2018 and is now an MVP candidate in 2019. We have even seen Mookie Betts struggle at the plate at times (2018 playoffs especially) and remember how Rafael Devers had a .240 batting average and an OBP below .300 last year? Now he’s a candidate to win the American League batting title with a .383 OBP. Funny how we quickly we forget even our current favorite players struggle at times.
Cora and his staff are some of the smartest people in baseball
We knew long before he was a manger Alex Cora was a smart baseball man. He was a manager in the making for years and an excellent bench coach with the Astros (the smartest team in baseball). Also hitting coach Tim Hyers is an intelligent baseball mind as he was well respected as Assistant hitting coach on Dave Roberts Dodgers staff. The Red Sox coaching staff knows how to develop players and they know how to help them. Bogaerts and Devers are guys who have found major success under Alex Cora and his coaching staff. They can easily help Benintendi find that success too.
The JD Martinez effect
Here in Boston we consider Mookie Betts to be the face of the Red Sox. Our MVP. Our go to guy. You know who Mookie Betts’s mentor is? JD Martinez. The Red Sox not only value JD Martinez’s hitting but also his leadership. Since day one he has talked about educating and mentoring other young hitters and answering any questions younger players may have. JD Martinez is one of the smartest hitters in the game. There are not many players who make those around them better hitters but Martinez has done that. Two excellent examples of that are Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers. Martinez helps take pressure off Betts in the lineup and encourages Mookie when he doesn’t meet his own rigorous standards. Devers also spent all offseason hitting with Martinez down in Florida to improve his offense. JD is the best resource a young hitter could have. I am sure he will help Benintendi find his confidence at the plate again.
He is breaking out
Andrew Benintendi has been inconsistent but we all have seen him play great at times. He even had a good month of June as he hit .312/.354/.473 which is above average. He had a very good 2018 season, where he should’ve been an all star. Since the All Star Break Benintendi has looked like a different player. He has lost the leg kick and gone back to the swing he had in his Arkansas days where he was the Golden Spikes Award winner (college MVP) and ever since Benintendi is tearing the cover off the ball with six home runs in his last twelve games and nineteen RBIs in his last twenty six games. There is more good Benny Biceps news as the Sox are in the middle of a four game series against the Yankees this weekend and we all know Benny is a Yankee killer. The biggest question is will he finally find consistency with his new swing? I would bet on it. Especially with how he has looked with the new adjustments he made.