Silverman: Andrew Benintendi blasting way back into top rookie race

NEW YORK — Remember how Aaron Judge had the AL Rookie of the Year Award all sewn up at the All-Star break?Yesterday,

NEW YORK — Remember how Aaron Judge had the AL Rookie of the Year Award all sewn up at the All-Star break?

Yesterday, Andrew Benintendi put the plaque engravers on notice.

They might as well hold off until the season is finished — just to be sure.

Not to declare Judge a flash in a pan just because he has been mired in a dreadful slump since the All-Star break, but Benintendi injected suspense and at least the appearance of a real contest in the American League’s best-rookie honors yesterday with an overpowering display of power on Judge’s home court.

Benintendi had six RBI, courtesy of a pair of three-run homers, and did more than carry the Red Sox to a badly needed 10-5 victory against the Yankees in the Bronx.

It also highlighted one of the more underrated qualities of the understated Red Sox outfielder.

And that’s consistency and a proven ability to overcome adversity at the big league level.

He flashed a double dose of legitimate — but not overwhelming — power in another game in which Judge looked mortal (0-for-4, two more strikeouts).

The Yankees’ colossal slugger still appears lost in a post-All Star break swoon, batting just .161 with five home runs in 27 games after his apperance in the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby.

Judge’s indecisive performance helped Benintendi’s late-season appeal as a rookie with a legitimate case, based upon offensive bona fides, for the jury to rule.

On the season, Benintendi is hitting .280 with a .359 on-base percentage, .448 slugging percentage and an .807 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). He has 16 home runs and 65 RBI.

For Judge, the numbers are down to a more mortal .289, .419 OBP, .607 SLG and 1.026 OPS. He has 35 home runs and 78 RBI.

In terms of power, it’s no contest, although Benintendi has just one fewer home run than Judge since the break.

They are not the same player.

They are both rookies, however.

And they belong in the same sentence.

“I don’t know if there’s a one-on-one competition, so to speak,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Any time you get players that come into this type of stage, whether it’s here or Fenway, it brings out the best in all guys. He was able to get a couple of pitches out over the plate.”

For his typically demure part, Benintendi, who has three home runs in these first two games in the Bronx, and four homers in his past six games, was not too keen on talk of vindication. Although, his strong showing here happens while Judge clearly is scuffling as badly as Benintendi was in both May and July.

“Not at all,” Benintendi said. “He’s having an unreal year, and he’s kind of struggling right now, and I went through that for two months. I’m sure he’ll figure it out.”

Benintendi, who has reached base safely in 20 of his past 37 plate appearances, will never have Judge’s brute power. He does have a sweet and deceptively powerful swing, which he has been able to maintain at a consistent standard for most — not all — of this season.

He first showcased his skills in his call-up a year ago, which is why Benintendi was the consensus pick for AL Rookie of the Year entering the season.

Then Judge happened.

Judge already had 30 home runs before the All-Star Game and captured the flag of the Home Run Derby with a stunning display of raw power.

The AL Rookie of the Year was a foregone conclusion because Judge, for crying out loud, was under consideration for AL MVP.

Flash-forward from Miami a month ago to the Bronx yesterday, and it’s clear Benintendi has the edge when it comes to overcoming the bouts of adversity that every rookie — and every hitter — experiences in the majors.

It happens, and Benintendi is grateful to have come out the other side in good shape.

    Share on
    Article Silverman: Andrew Benintendi blasting way back into top rookie race compiled by

    You might also like