10:23pm: Boston has announced the signings of both Benintendi and third-rounder Austin Rei. The catcher will receive an at-slot, $724,400 bonus, Callis tweets.
Rei is a defensive specialist; indeed, Callis calls his work behind the plate the best of all this year’s draft-eligible collegians. The questions come with the bat, though there are signs that Rei can contribute on offense. As MLB.com wrote in ranking him 87th on its board, Rei rates solidly in terms of bat speed and approach.
10:30am: The Red Sox have agreed to terms with No. 7 overall draft pick Andrew Benintendi, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). The lefty-swinging outfielder out of the University of Arkansas will receive the full slot bonus of $3,590,400, per Callis, who feels that Benintendi possessed the best all-around tools of any college hitter in this year’s draft class.
Callis and colleague Jonathan Mayo ranked Benintendi eighth among draft prospects, while Benintendi ranked ninth per Baseball America and per Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Benintendi a bit lower at No. 21, though he noted that, “No one has improved his stock this spring more than the sophomore draft-eligible Benintendi…” which is lofty but likely deserved praise after Benintendi led the SEC in OBP, homers and slugging percentage.
Callis and Mayo praised Benintendi’s smooth swing and ability to consistently barrel up the ball. That’s complemented by plus speed, the MLB.com duo notes, giving Benintendi a chance to be a base-stealing threat and to stick in center field. BA notes that Benintendi didn’t play summer ball last year and wasn’t even on some clubs’ radars entering the season, but he quickly caused a “who’s-who of scouting directors and front-office officials” to fly in to watch his performance as the season progressed. McDaniel pegs the potential of each of Benintendi’s five tools as solid-average or better, and BA notes that the only real knocks on the 5’10” outfielder are his size and lack of a lengthier track record.
With Benintendi’s agreement in place, eight of the Top 10 picks in this year’s draft have either signed or agreed to terms, though just three have signed for the full slot value of their pick. (Minnesota’s Tyler Jay and Philadelphia’s Cornelius Randolph are the others.)
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