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June 8, 2015 at 7:51 PM

Red Sox select Andrew Benintendi with the seventh overall pick

With the seventh overall pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Red Sox have selected Andrew Benintendi, an outfielder from the University of Arkansas. Benintendi has been one of the fastest risers this spring, flying up draft boards, as many scouts were unaware that he was a draft eligible sophomore. In the end, Baseball America and Fangraphs ranked him ninth, Perfect Game USA had him 12th, and MLB.com was the highest at eighth.

It is easy to see why Benintendi's lofty rankings surprised some, as he hit just .276/.368/.333 as a freshman for the Razorbacks. Things took a 180-degree turn this season as he ended up top 10 in the nation in on-base and slugging percentage and top 20 in average while playing in the best conference in the nation, the SEC. His final stat line was .380/.489/.715 with 19 home runs, 13 doubles, 23 steals, with 47 walks to 31 strikeouts.

The 5-foot-10 outfielder's tools are almost as impressive as his results this year. He has a very quick bat, and a great approach at the plate. While some are concerned that his power will fall off once he transitions to wooden bats, the consensus is that it still should be around league average. FanGraphs Kiley McDaniel notes that Benintendi has bulked up significantly since his freshmen year, and that too could be part of the reason for his increased power. His above-average speed allows him to steal bases at a strong clip, and it is that along with good reads and instincts that leads scouts to believe he will be able to stay in center field after turning pro according to Baseball America.

Athleticism and performance are a nice combination, and Benintendi's combination of the two are a large part of the reason that the Red Sox selected him. The fact that he is a draft-eligible sophomore means that he has more negotiating leverage than other college players, but being selected so high, there is nothing to indicate that he will not sign nor demand over the slot amount for the pick of $3,590,400.

Scouting info was compiled from industry publications including Baseball America, FanGraphs, Perfect Game USA, and MLB.com.

Photo Credit: Andrew Benintendi by Whole Hog Sports.

Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.