Three Up, Three Down: Andrew Benintendi Makes The Leap
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox
Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, deservedly, get most of the love, but Benintendi has been integral as well, helping the Red Sox post the best record in baseball. The No. 1 overall prospect entering 2017 delivered a 20-20 season as a rookie and hasn’t experienced a sophomore slump in any way in 2018, with a .305/.387/.525 slash line. As the Red Sox have gone 15-3 in July, it’s been Benintendi leading the way. The 24-year-old has a 1.110 OPS this month, which ranks best on the team and third-best in the American League.
Trevor Story, SS, Rockies
After an injury-shortened 2016 and a poor 2017, Story has busted out in a big way in 2018. The four-time Rockies Top 10 prospect is in the midst of a 13-game hit streak that has propelled him to a .404/.460/.737 slash line this month, and it’s just the latest run of success in what has been a banner season. Story’s .909 OPS is second to only Manny Machado and Francisco Lindor among MLB shortstops, and his 90.4 mph average exit velocity is tied with Lindor.
Jesse Winker, OF, Reds
The National League Rookie of the Year race is far from over. Winker is seeing to that. The No. 99 prospect coming into the year has been on an absolute tear this month, batting .442 — yes, .442 — in the month of July to go with a .517 on-base percentage and .615 slugging percentage. Among all rookies with at least 65 games played, Winker ranks first in batting average (.299), on-base percentage (.405) and OPS (.836).
Cole Hamels, LHP, Rangers
Hamels is struggling at the worst possible time as the trade deadline nears. In four July starts, the lefty has an 11.12 ERA, with 28 hits and 21 earned runs allowed in 17 innings. Hamels’ fastball is sitting 91-92 mph, down from 93-94 three years ago, and his heater has gotten lit up by opponents for a .378 average and .805 slugging percentage, according to Baseball Savant.
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Hunter Dozier, 1B, Royals
Given the chance to prove he should be part of the Royals' future, Dozier has struggled. The No. 8 overall pick in 2013 has batted .203/.264/.324 in his first crack at consistent playing time, and his .588 OPS is second-lowest among MLB rookies with at least 140 at-bats. It’s not getting better either. Dozier is 4-for-34 in his last 10 games.
Eric Hosmer, 1B, Padres
It’s been a rough month in San Diego. The Padres are 5-13 in July, which has dropped them to the worst record in the National League at 42-61. Hosmer, signed to the largest free agent contract in team history this past offseason, has been at the center of it. The 28-year-old’s .130 batting average and .347 OPS in July are the worst in baseball, and overall he’s hit just .245/.311/.387 this season.