Just days after being drafted seventh overall by the Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi has quite the accolade to add to his resume, being named Baseball America's College Player of the Year for 2015.
It's a fitting punctuation mark on a season that saw Benintendi rise from relative obscurity to a top-10 pick. It takes quite a year to shake things up quite that much, and Benintendi had just that, hitting .389/.489/.715 for in 221 at bats for Arkansas. It's pretty easy to find those numbers when you're looking up SEC leaderboards, since he's number one in all three slash line stats (and home runs to boot), with his .715 SLG a good 64 points ahead of the closest competitor.
It's strange to see power numbers like that from someone Benintendi's size, but as Baseball America points out, his 2015 explosion did not exactly come out of nowhere. While plenty of players produce excellent numbers in college but are marked by scouts as unlikely to succeed in professional ball, Benintendi doesn't carry that black mark. The only real knock against him is that he hasn't been doing it for long. But before he was an unremarkable freshman, Benintendi was an exceptional high school player producing some of the best numbers the state of Ohio has ever seen.
He was also, as it happens, a patient, having the hamate bone in his right hand removed between high school and college. There just might be some connection there. Maybe.
While he's got plenty of options open to him as a sophomore in college, Benintendi is fully expected to sign with the Red Sox before long. Still, his collegiate career isn't over just yet. Arkansas will take on Virginia in the first round of the College World Series this coming Saturday. At least individually, however, there's no mountain left to climb for Benintendi at Arkansas. He's going out on top, perhaps helping his team to a title along the way.