Red Sox Rookie Andrew Benintendi Makes the Catch of the Year

Benintendi leaped over the left field wall to rob a home run in dramatic fashion.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi via Wikimedia Commons

Andrew Benintendi has only been in the Major Leagues for 23 days, but he’s already secured himself a spot in Red Sox lore.

In the bottom of the eighth inning Monday night, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. clocked a deep fly ball to the left field corner. Benintendi, who was standing much closer to left-center than the foul line, raced over and flung himself over the fence to make one of the best catches you’ll ever see.

It was a miraculous play that helped secure the Red Sox’s 6-2 win over the Rays. If Souza’s ball had gone over the wall for a home run, Tampa Bay would’ve cut the deficit to one, setting the stage for a dramatic ninth inning. But instead, the Red Sox cruised to a relatively easy victory, and David Price was able to exit after eight shutout frames. Boston is in the midst of a 9-2 run and is now tied for first place in the American League East.

Benintendi, 22, was Baseball America‘s ninth-ranked prospect before the Red Sox called him up at the start of this month. The 2015 first-round pick out of Arkansas has been sensational in the big leagues so far, hitting .306 with an .821 OPS in 19 games. The Red Sox originally said the left-handed Benintendi would only play against right-handed pitchers, but he’s quickly forced his way into the everyday lineup, starting in 15 consecutive contests.

With Benintendi emerging alongside Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr., the Red Sox have perhaps the best young core in all of baseball. Current baseball operations president Dave Dombrowski will get credit for this season’s turnaround, but the club’s real architect is former general manager Ben Cherington. Betts, Bogaerts, and Bradley all developed in his minor league system—Cherington’s predecessor, Theo Epstein, brought them to the organization—and Benintendi was his final first-round pick.

Towards the end of the abysmal 2012 campaign, Cherington promised he would build the “next great Red Sox team.” Four years later, his words have come to fruition.