Here’s a result that will shock absolutely no one: Andrew Benintendi has been voted as the top prospect in the system. It wasn’t a particularly close vote, either, with the outfielder taking 81 percent of the vote. As many have noted, Benintendi is only barely a prospect, as he played a big chunk of last season in the majors. A knee injury that kept him out for a few weeks between August and September held him below the threshold, however, making him a shoo-in for this vote.
Obviously, the Red Sox don’t enjoy having top draft picks since it means they failed the year before. They took advantage when they had one in 2015, though, by sniping Benintendi with the seventh overall pick. This seventh overall pick went a lot better than their previous one. After his huge year at Arkansas, Benintendi kept mashing in his first professional season with both Lowell and Greenville. He followed that up by flying through the rest of the system in 2016.
He started the year in Salem, about a year-and-a-half younger than the average player in the Carolina League, and mashed his way to a .341/.413/.563 line. That was enough to earn a midseason promotion to Portland, where he was over three years younger than the average player. In what is historically known as the toughest jump to make in the minors, Benintendi had a rough five days in adjusting to Double-A competition. He ended up hitting .295/.357/.515 at the level, a strong enough performance to justify skipping Triple-A all together to help the major-league team.
We know what happened after that. He quickly made sure everyone knew he belonged. He could hit, to the tune of a .295/.359/.476 line, good for a 117 OPS+. He could field, doing things like this. He could dominate the hair game (RIP Benintendi flow). He could dance.
All of this has everyone expecting big things for 2017. Not only is he the clear top prospect in Boston’s farm system, he’s the clear top outfield prospect in all of baseball. He’s going to, at the very least, be the long-end of a platoon in left field for one of the American League favorites. Pretty good for a kid who was a forgotten college sophomore just three years ago.
Now, we move on to the rest of the pack. Things start to get a little more muddled from here on out. Good job keeping things clean in the voting last time. Keep it up, and vote (once) below.