Andrew Benintendi can step into the batter’s box during this year’s American League Division Series between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros knowing he almost played for the other side.

The Red Sox drafted Benintendi with the seventh overall pick in 2015, paving the way for him to eventually become a fan favorite in Boston. But the Astros, who selected Alex Bregman with the No. 2 pick, had the No. 5 pick that year, too, and probably would have selected Benintendi if fellow outfielder Kyle Tucker, who Houston ended up taking, no longer was available.

“It was definitely an option for us, that we could have drafted both players (Bregman and Benintendi),” Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias, the head of the amateur draft process in Houston, recently told CSNNE’s Evan Drellich. “We liked both players quite a bit. We were in a unique situation that year because we had the two picks (second and fifth overall).

“I can say with all honesty that if Tucker had been gone, like say if the Rangers took him right before us, we take Benintendi.”

The Astros held the No. 5 pick in 2015 based on their 2014 record and the No. 2 pick as compensation for not signing their No. 1 overall pick the previous season, Brady Aiken, amid medical concerns. Bregman, a shortstop out of LSU, since has become Houston’s starting third baseman, while Tucker, who was drafted out of high school, reached Double-A this season.

“And credit to the Red Sox, I heard that their area scouts did a great job of identifying (Benintendi) as early as the previous fall, and they were able to focus on him early,” Elias told Drellich. “But we liked him a lot. It was basically between him and Kyle Tucker, who’s doing well for us. We liked the idea of coming away with a polished college player like Bregman and then an upside high school player like Tucker.”

We’ll see if Benintendi can make Houston pay for its decision this postseason.

Thumbnail photo via Patrick McDermott/USA TODAY Sports Images