Andrew Benintendi came up in the Boston Red Sox’s farm system as a center fielder but was bumped to left field upon reaching the majors. It’s safe to say that transition is going well.
The Red Sox rookie flashed some big-time leather in Wednesday night’s win over the Philadelphia Phillies, reaching into the stands after a long run to make an incredible catch on a Freddy Galvis fly ball in the ninth inning.
It’s one of the best defensive plays we’ve seen Benintendi make in his young career — but it’s not the first time he’s made such a catch. Wednesday’s web gem bore a striking resemblance to one of the best catches you’ll see at any level: Benintendi flying over the Tropicana Field railing in an Aug. 22, 2016, game against the Tampa Bay Rays to rob Steven Souza Jr. of a sure home run.
Are we sensing a trend here? Benintendi admitted after that first catch that he had been training for such a play for quite some time.
“I remember when I was a kid I would throw a tennis ball up over my couch and jump over it and catch it to practice,” he said.
It appears all that “hard work” is paying off.
The 22-year-old’s defensive prowess isn’t limited to his glove, either. Late in Tuesday’s game against the Phillies, Benintendi fired a perfect throw home to nab Howie Kendrick at home plate and preserve a tie game.
The Red Sox went on to win in extra innings — on a Benintendi walk-off hit, of course.
Benintendi isn’t perfect in the field: He has two errors on the season and still owns a minus-1.5 UZR (ultimate zone rating). But the latest additions to his highlight reel show he’s fully capable of being a very solid outfielder, and with defensive studs Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts alongside him, that’s a scary proposition for opposing offenses.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images