Baseball America has named Andrew Benintendi from Arkansas, as their college baseball Player of the Year on Thursday.
Benintendi, who was the seventh overall pick in the MLB draft by the Boston Red Sox, is in the midst of a fantastic season in which he is tied for the lead nationally in home runs (19) and is third in the nation with a .715 slugging percentage. He also has 55 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. To put simply, he has the complete package.
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Benintendi enjoyed a legendary high school career in the suburbs of Cincinnati before tearing it up in Fayetteville, Ark. He didn’t have the most impressive freshman year thanks to having surgery to remove the hamate bone in his right hand, but come sophomore year, he batted .380 with 19 home runs, 55 RBIs and 23 steals. The “Ohio Hit King” has unorthodox speed and power for a kid who’s relatively small at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds. But despite his resume, coaches say he keeps a good attitude. “I mean, his teammates love him. They all pull for him,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn told Baseball America. “You can just tell. All he ever talks about is the team and winning. He’s pretty humble. And it’s good to see. And the players have appreciated how he’s handled (the draft), and they’re excited about it.”
Benintendi is the first player in Arkansas history to ever win this award. He is up for both the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy as well. His Razorbacks are headed to Omaha this weekend to play in the College World Series.