Stop me if you've heard this before: Andrew Benintendi has been named the best in something! This time it's Baseball America giving him top honors in the New York-Penn League. Also on the list: teammate Luis Alexander Basabe, who came in sixth.
If you're surprised by this, you weren't paying enough attention to short-season baseball this year. Benintendi ultimately doesn't show up on the NYPL leaderboards, but only because he was so dominant that the Red Sox had to promote him after 35 games to Greenville (where he was somehow even better). Of those who do appear on the leaderboards, only Stone Garrett (ranked 11th by Baseball America), is even in Benintendi's vicinity, with the league's next best by OPS coming in more than 60 points shy of Boston's first-round pick.
Basabe's run through short-season ball was not quite so effortless. He got off to an excellent start, hittnig .267/.298/.511 in June and a better balanced .268/.379/.464 in July, but August proved quite the challenge, with his OPS dipping down to .505, likely due in part to an injury that saw him finish the season inactive. Still, it was a strong season from a player who had struggled to adapt to the GCL after a mid-season promotion in 2014. Basabe represents something of a free-roll for the Red Sox, having come onto the scene without much hype and cost the Red Sox only cash. If he turns into something, great. If not, they aren't exactly missing a key part of the puzzle.
With or without Basabe, though, the next wave of Red Sox prospects has taken clear shape. With the team currently populated mostly by players who were in Pawtucket sometime between 2013 and 2015, the need for another burst of youth isn't exactly high, but the Sox certainly won't turn up their nose at the likes of Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, and now Andrew Benintendi and Anderson Espinoza (who took down top honors in the GCL last week).