Expect Andrew Benintendi to Resurrect His Career with Royals

Braden Sarver

Following a trade from the Boston Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi is ready to turn a new page in his career. The former Arkansas Razorback and 2015 Golden Spikes award winner will now take the outfield for the Kansas City Royals. 

Benintendi is coming off his worst professional season yet. In 2020, he hit .103 in 14 games before a right rib cage strain ended his season. 

He was a valuable piece to Boston in the past. Benintendi finished second in Rookie of Year voting in 2017, behind Aaron Judge. He hit .271 with career highs 20 home runs and 90 rbis. 

In 2018 he helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. He made a highlight, game-saving catch in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros which was voted as the Associated Press’ play of the year.

Benny Baseball had career highs with .290 batting average, .830 ops, 21 stolen bases, 41 doubles, and 168 hits. He also had 16 home runs and 87 RBIs. 

2019 wasn’t as great for Benintendi. He was dealing with injuries during the season. His numbers dropped to .266 with 13 home runs, 68 RBIs and only 10 stolen bases while his strikeouts jumped to 140. Still solid numbers for the young outfielder, but below expectation for the rising star. 

According to a Bleacher Report article, it was not so bad for Benintendi. “When injuries are taken out of the equation, he hit .286/.362/.476 through 117 games.” 

After a bad 2020, Boston dealt him to the Royals in a three-team deal that included the New York Mets. Boston received left fielder Franchy Cordero from KC and pitcher Josh Wickowski from the Mets. The Mets receive Royals’ prospect Khalil Lee. 

Cordero has not panned out so far in his career. Through four seasons, he has played in less than 100 games. He has a career .236 average, with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs. 

Benintendi did an interview with NBC Sports Boston and gave his thoughts on the trade. 

“Obviously a couple of months ago my name was being thrown around. I tried not to pay too much attention to it because there’s only so much I can control,” Benintendi told reporters.

“I got a call last night from [Chief Baseball Officer of the Boston Red Sox] Chaim Bloom and [he] said that ‘There’s a good chance you’re going to get traded tonight so I’ll let you know.’ Didn’t know the team, and then I found out it’s the Royals, and I’m extremely excited.”

“It’s nice to feel wanted. And yeah, I think there’s a sense of pride for me now. I want to perform well obviously. I want to go show them that it was worth the trade and I want to go play well for the fans and the organization, so I’m excited.”

Kansas City needs a new everyday left fielder after long-time Royal Alex Gordon retired following the 2020 season. The Royals will get that, and possibly even an upgrade with Benintendi. 

BleacherReport also projected the Royals’ new opening day starting lineup after the trade. 

1. RF Whit Merrifield

2. SS Adalberto Mondesi

3. C Salvador Perez

4. 1B Carlos Santana

5. DH Jorge Soler

6. 3B Hunter Dozier

7. LF Andrew Benintendi

8. CF Michael A. Taylor

9. 2B Nicky Lopez

Benintendi provided more production in 2017 and 2018 than Gordon did, but they had similar stats in 2019. In those three seasons Benintendi had 49 combined home runs and 245 RBIs. Gordon had 35 home runs and 177 rbis. 

Gordon had an ops of .608, .694, and .741 from 2017 to ‘19, compared to Benintendi’s .776, .830, and .774. 

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Kansas City is adding a solid piece to the outfield. Benintendi is closer to home, being from the Midwest as well as a short drive from Fayetteville. Arkansas Razorbacks’ baseball coach Dave Van Horn thinks this will help the Hogs, he revealed in an interview with Pig Trail Nation.

“He’s excited to get back to the Midwest. Those were kind of his words. He feels like it’s good for him. I talked to the Royals about him before it all went down. With Gordon retiring, he’s going to be a great fit in left field for them. Probably more of a top of the order hitter. Hopefully in the ballpark in Kansas City, he’ll kind of go back to what he really is, and that’s a line drive guy that sprays it all over the field. I hope it turns out really well for everyone involved.”

Van Horn also went on to talk about recruiting effects. 

“I think it’s definitely going to help some,” Van Horn said. “We’ve done an extremely good job in Kansas City the last 10 years. Go back to Ryne Stanek and all the way to Christian Franklin, and we’ve got three or four kids this year that are coming from the area. Then the next two or three classes down the road we’ve already got a couple of kids committed in each class, and we’re working on a couple more.”

“Having a former Arkansas Razorback Golden Spikes winner playing three and a half, four hours right up the road from us… it should help us. I’m sure it’ll get brought up in the media up there [that] he was a Razorback and maybe that the GM of the Royals’ son [Robert Moore] is playing for the Razorbacks now and will be playing for us next year. He’s going to be a good pick out of here down the road because he deserves it. It’ll probably all tie in.”

The trade can’t hurt Arkansas. The Razorbacks have done a very good job bringing in recruits from the Kansas City area such as Ryne Stanek, Isaiah Campbell, and Christian Franklin. Benintendi can possibly help even more. 

This trade is good for all parties involved. Kansas City gets better, Benintendi moves closer to home, Arkansas gets a big leaguer in a major recruiting zone, and Boston dumps  a few million dollars in salary. 

BleacherReport had Benintendi in the seven hole right now, but I suspect he will challenge Mondesi for that second spot in the order. He’s had six months to heal and like Van Horn said, he is a top of the order bat. He gets on base and uses the whole field. 

He does not have the same speed as Mondesi who stole 43 bases in 2019, but he has respectable speed. He has two seasons over 20+ stolen bases. 

The key for Benintendi will be staying healthy. He struggled through the end of 2019 with staying healthy, and he only played 14 games in 2020 due to his rib cage strain. 

If Benintendi stays healthy he can return to the player he was. In Kansas City, he can get his average back to .280 or higher and hit 15+ home runs again. He is still just 26 and has plenty of time to prove he is a very good player. 

The large outfield in Kauffman Stadium will allow him to hit plenty of doubles, he has two 40+ doubles seasons already. It will also allow a few extra balls to drop in front of the fielders. 

His average should be good in 2021, he may not get back to 20 home runs like he did in 2017, but his slugging should go up with the extra bases, like in 2018. 

If Benintendi stays healthy, he is a very good everyday outfielder. He hits for contact and has a very good glove. He is not on the downhill slope, he just needs to get healthy. 

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It appears a straight-up child is interviewing the Royals’ assistant GM here about Benintendi:

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