Boston, Massachusetts - Just as this series of off-season profiles began with one of the outfielders of the Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts, so too will it continue with another member of this dominant trio that roams the outer reaches of Fenway Park. Whether or not they’re the best offensive outfield in baseball could be debated (though Mookie’s MVP presence certainly helps this argument), there’s no denying that they are the best defensive outfield in the game and certainly one of the best ever.
Andrew Benintendi is a crucial piece of this outfield, to be sure, and he’s been an integral part of the Boston baseball team ever since he first came up in the majors in 2016. Going into the 2017 season, Benintendi was far and away considered the favorite for American League Rookie of the Year. Obviously with the rise of Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, this did not come to pass, but Benintendi was just as excellent a player in his own right.
He continued to develop in 2018, en route to his first ever World Series championship. All of Benintendi’s numbers were up in 2018, except for his power numbers, which saw his home run count decrease from twenty to sixteen and his RBI count decrease from ninety to eighty-seven. Most of this was thanks in large part to a decline in powering the long ball during the second half of the season.
With 168 hits and 41 doubles, Benintendi just barely missed the cut of being named to the American League All-Star team, but his value to Boston comes in so many more ways than awards and trophies. When he and Betts were on at the top of the lineup, the team seemed borderline unstoppable. And good luck thinking you could ever bloop a hit past Benny either; he made just four errors on the season.
In fact, Benintendi’s most clutch play came on defense when he robbed Alex Bregman of a potential game-winning hit in Game Four of the ALCS by making an exceptional diving catch on the ball. It was so instrumental on the path for Boston to win the World Series, in fact, that it was just named the play of the year by the Associated Press.