BOSTON—Andrew Benintendi’s arrival in the big leagues this year, though atypical, didn’t come as a shock. The outfielder seemed destined to stay on a well-paved fast track from the moment he was drafted No. 7 overall in 2015.
Lefthander Robby Scott, on the other hand, navigated a desert, then a forest, and then a traffic jam on a dirt road en route to his own major league opportunity as a 27-year-old. He went undrafted in 2011 after pitching just 15 innings over two years at Florida State and signed with the independent North American Baseball League.
There, he quickly made an impression on both his skipper in Yuma, 46-year-old player-manager Jose Canseco, and 52-year-old teammate Tony Phillips.
“Once I got there and I had my first couple outings, Jose and a couple of guys said, ‘You don’t belong in independent ball,’ ” Scott said. “‘We’re going to try to get you out of here as soon as possible.’”
Scott made seven scoreless appearances for Yuma, the last a start in which he struck out the side in the first inning, only to see Canseco heading to the mound as he warmed for the second inning.
“He’s like, ‘I have to take you out,’ ” Scott said. “Our catcher said, ‘Jose, you’re not taking him out.’ Jose said, ‘I have to. The Red Sox just purchased his contract.’ ”
Al Nipper, then a special-assignment scout, wanted to get the jump on the other scouts at the game, so he acquired Scott’s rights for the Red Sox mid-game. Thus began a six-year slog through the system for Scott, who played for five affiliates and developed a second delivery.
Armed with a mid-80s fastball, Scott mixes a fastball and curveball from a conventional arm slot he uses against righthanders, with a sidearm fastball-slider combination he uses against lefties.
That second delivery, developed in 2015, allowed Scott to dominate lefties at Triple-A Pawtucket this year (.147 average) and ultimately offered a ticket to the big leagues, where he debuted with seven scoreless appearances in September.
• At 22 years, 92 days, Benintendi became the youngest Red Sox batter ever to homer in the postseason.
• Yoan Moncada played exclusively at third base in the first three games of the Arizona Fall League.