Has Andrew Benintendi emerged as one of the elite outfielders? He’s not there yet… Yet is the key word, as when you look at his 2018 performance and dig into the upside potential it’s easy to envision him taking the next step forward in his development:
.290 Batting Average (168 Hits)
16 Home Runs
21 Stolen Bases
.366 On Base Percentage
.465 Slugging Percentage
.328 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Those are solid numbers, but he should get even better with 2019 being the tipping point towards becoming one of the elite and a true five-category performer. Let’s take a look:
He took a step back in terms of his home run total, after hitting 20 HR in ’17. He did add 41 doubles last season and will turn 25-years old in July, so it’s easy to envision him adding a few more home runs with some of those doubles finding their way over the Fenway Park fences.
As it is he showed signs of what was possible in the first half, as he hit 14 HR over 350 AB. His 12.7% HR/FB wouldn’t raise any eyebrows and would only show modest growth over his 11.2% overall mark in 2017. Just maintaining the first half mark would lead to a 25ish home run campaign (he only hit 2 HR in the second half last season), but it’s not impossible that he takes another step forward.
Obviously an improvement in his power would help an already strong average, and wile a 28.0% Hard% isn’t an ideal number the rest of his skills scream of a .300+ hitter:
- SwStr% – 7.6%
- O-Swing% – 28.4%
- Oppo% – 28.2%
Benintendi brings a strong approach and a willingness to use the entire field, which eliminates the threat of the shift impacting him significantly. His Hard% was consistently poor all season long, though he was hitting line drives (23.8%) and he has the speed to continue to maintain an elevated BABIP.
At the very least Benintendi should maintain last year’s mark, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him post a .300+ campaign.
He’s stolen at least 20 bases in back-to-back seasons, after having 17 SB between High-A, Double-A and the Majors in ’16. He should contribute 15+ SB, but crossing the 20 SB threshold is likely.
You put that all together for a player who hits near the top of a loaded lineup and saw his performance improve against southpaws (.247/.301/.393), though he could still sit against more difficult ones, and you get the following:
.296 (170-550), 24 HR, 95 RBI, 95 R, 23 SB, .326 BABIP, .374 OBP, .499 SLG
With the potential for even more power and a .300+ average, Benintendi brings the entire package. It’s easy to envision him as a Top 10 outfielder and a Top 20 player this season, so at his current third round ADP (30.21 in NFBC formats) he’s a must target.
Sources – Fangraphs, NFBC