Trade Target: Andrew Benintendi

With Aaron Hicks collapsing at the plate and Joey Gallo not quite rounding into the form we thought he would, the Yankees may be in need of some outfield help for the rest of the season. The trade deadline is far away and the market hasn’t even begun to begin to form, so the idea of a trade is a remote one at best. One player casually linked to the Yankees is outfielder Andrew Benintendi, former first round pick of the Red Sox (2015, pick 7), currently of the Kansas City Royals, who’ll reach free agency at the end of this season.

On the surface, he seems like he’d be a good fit, simply because he’s a lefty hitter. Who doesn’t love a lefty hitter in Yankee stadium? Benintendi also fits a more contact-oriented mold that the Yankees have sought after recently. After some high strikeout rates at the end of his tour in Boston (22.8 % in 2019; 32.7 in 2020), he’s knocked his strikeout rate back into the teens with the Royals and it’s currently at a career low 13.7%. Additionally, aside from a low rate of 6.7% last year, Benintendi has posted good walk rates in his career.

His career .159 ISO is fine, though it’s down to .094 this year after .166 in 2021 and .026 (!) in 2020. Power might not be something the Yankees could count on from him, but with his contact and walk skills, they could live with a lack of power.

In the past, Benintendi hasn’t exactly stung the ball, as players the Yankees like tend to do. These last two years in KC have seen him rank in the 55th and 67th percentiles for exit velocity, which are career highs back-to-back. The same goes for his hard hit percentage at 66 and 59.

One note of concern this year is that Benintendi is really beating the ball into the ground, with a GB% of near 50%, a career high outside of a shortened and disastrous 2020. He’s had success with it, but I’m not sure how sustainable it is. He’s hitting. 348 on grounders this year, despite never hitting higher than .310 on them, and that was in his debut year of 2016. There might be a correction coming there, but the same could be said for his grounder rate overall. If his grounders fall in favor of his fly balls and line drives rising back to career norms, there could be a power restoration for him. Such a restoration would play very well in Yankee Stadium.

By outs above average, he’s never been a good outfielder, save for 2018 when he was in the 61st percentile. Aside from that, he’s been rated pretty terribly, though he’s up to the 39th percentile this year.

I’m not sure what it would take to get him and I’m terrible at trade proposals, so I’ll pass on that.

Is he perfect as a trade candidate? Probably not. But he’s not a bad one, either. The Yankees could do a lot worse and, given the state of the outfield at the moment, he’d be a good fit.

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5 Comments

  1. ALLEN I WHITE

    He has never been a good outfielder….but he won the gold glove last year? Disconnect warning

  2. MikeD

    To the Views community, authors and commenters, I wish all a pleasant day as we reflect and give honor to those who have allowed us to live our lives. All gave some, some gave all.

  3. William Hudgins

    Gallo not quite rounding into form ? Chris Davis of 2018 Orioles had lowest BA in ML history at .168 – Gallo is below that. He is not quite rounding into pitiful.

    • Kevin Scafidi

      Jackie Bradley Jr “hit” .163 last year!

  4. Anthony Rizzeddardo

    He was a Red Sock, Matt. That should already eliminate him from consideration if we weren’t so desperate. Boone is going to run Judge into the ground playing him in CF so much but what choice does he have? God that Hicks deal was so bad. 7 years for a guy that was always injured and had one good year. Between that and the Ellsbury deal that’s 15 years of nothing. Florial would be an upgrade. At least he hit the ball hard when he got a chance. Hicks and Gallo are giant black holes. Even IKF has hit some and Trevino single handedly won a game with his clutch hitting. Bentintendi would be a vast upgrade and I’d rather see them get someone now than wait until June 30. The Sox are coming. Rays aren’t as good this year. Jays still seem a year or two away. But we can’t count on this kind of elite starting pitching all year.

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