Hanley Ramirez has made a few dramatic proclamations this spring, but this one might be worth remembering.
The Boston Red Sox first baseman/designated hitter’s latest claim has nothing to do with himself, as he told reporters Thursday at spring training that outfielder Andrew Benintendi would win the American League MVP — this season.
It’s a bold claim, sure, but it’s not totally out there. Benintendi is coming off a fine rookie season where he hit 20 home runs, drove in 90 runs and hit .271 while finishing second to Aaron Judge in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
And yes, it’s only spring training, but the bulked-up Benintendi has shown no signs of regression so far this spring. In seven games, he’s hitting .471 (8-for-17) with a pair of home runs and four runs batted in for the Red Sox.
Benintendi also will get plenty of chances to do some damage atop the Red Sox lineup. Manager Alex Cora already indicated Benintendi will be the No. 2 hitter in the batting order behind another MVP candidate, Mookie Betts. He also might have J.D. Martinez hitting behind him, so he’ll get chances to drive in some runs while figuring to see plenty of good pitches.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images