The Red Sox have (finally, finally!) promoted top outfield prospect Andrew Benintendi to Double-A Portland.
Alright, as much as the wait has seemed interminable, a month is actually not all that long to wait. It's just felt that way because of what Benintendi has been doing to High-A competition on such a regular basis. Even after a brief cold spell in May, Benintendi will finish his 2016 Salem tenure with a line of .351/.420/.580. For a while there, he had more triples than any team in the majors! He had a franchise-record hitting streak, and took a ridiculous number of straight swings without a whiff, resulting in a final total of nine strikeouts to fifteen walks.
Frankly, his dominance actually became counter-productive by the end. On Saturday, Wilmington walked him three times, once intentionally. This in a minor-league game, where the entire point is to gain experience. Who does an intentional walk really help? The manager, perhaps? And keep in mind, the guy behind him was Nick Longhi, who in that very game was perfect at the plate, and holds a .312 average on the season.
That's not what you want for one of your top prospects. Even if Benintendi outclassed the league, the at bats still had some worth. But not if the catcher is standing on the other side of the plate waiting for a pitch feet outside.
Now Benintendi will finally get a chance to show what he can do in Double-A, which is often seen as the biggest dividing line before the majors. How will he handle more advanced secondary offerings? Is he as major league ready as many think, or will the 21-year-old finally look his age? He's well ahead of pace right now, so he can certainly afford to.
Whatever the case, it'll make the wasteland that was Portland a lot more interesting. Particularly when Yoan Moncada joins him.