Benintendi during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox in 2016
|Boston Red Sox – No. 16|
July 6, 1994 |
|August 2, 2016, for the Boston Red Sox|
(through 2016 season)
|Runs batted in||14|
|Career highlights and awards|
Andrew S. Benintendi (born July 6, 1994) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball for the Arkansas Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas. The Red Sox selected Benintendi in the first round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft.
Benintendi attended Madeira High School in Madeira, Ohio. As a senior, he batted .564 with 12 home runs, 57 runs batted in (RBIs) and 38 stolen bases for the school's baseball team, and was the ABCA/Rawlings National High School Player of the Year and Ohio Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. He finished his career with an Ohio record 199 career runs scored. Benintendi was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 31st round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft, but he did not sign with the Reds.
Benintendi enrolled at the University of Arkansas to play college baseball for the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team. As a true freshman at Arkansas, Benintendi played in 61 games, with 60 starts. He hit .276/.368/.333 with one home run and 27 RBIs.
In 2015, Benintendi led the Southeastern Conference in batting average (.380), home runs (19), on-base percentage (.489), slugging (.715) and walks (47). He was 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. Benintendi was considered one of the top prospects for the 2015 Major League Baseball draft.
Benintendi was drafted by the Boston Red Sox with the seventh overall selection in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. He signed with the Red Sox, receiving a $3.6 million signing bonus. Benintendi made his professional debut with the Lowell Spinners of the Class A-Short Season New York–Penn League. He began the 2016 season with the Salem Red Sox of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League, and received a promotion to the Portland Sea Dogs of the Class AA Eastern League on May 15.
The Red Sox promoted Benintendi to the major leagues on August 2, 2016 straight from Double-A, only 421 days after being selected in the draft. He made his major league debut on August 2 against the Seattle Mariners as a pinch hitter and recorded his first major league hit on August 3. Benintendi recorded both his first major league triple and his first major league home run against the Detroit Tigers on August 21.
A day after Benintendi hit his first MLB home run, the rookie outfielder made a sensational catch against the Tampa Bay Rays during an away game at Tropicana Field August 22, 2016. With his team down 0-3 to the Rays, Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. came up with no outs in the bottom of the eighth and hit a fly ball that looked to be a two-run home run to left field. Benintendi leapt over the wall to deny the homer in what many believe will be the "catch of the year". Benintendi said of it: "I think that’s the best catch I’ve made. I’ve never really had the opportunity to take one back, and I was fortunate enough that I could. I was just trying to time up my jump, and I was fortunate enough to catch it. I saw the wall out of the corner of my eye and timed up my jump well. My first step was good. I knew I was probably going to have to jump at some point, and I chose the right time to do it."
On October 6, in game one of the 2016 American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians, Benintendi hit a home run in his first postseason at-bat off Indians' pitcher Trevor Bauer. The Indians won the game 5-4 and the series 3-0. He ended the season with a .295 batting average.
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