To Buy or Not To Buy: What To Make Of The Struggles Of Andrew Benintendi…


There were high hopes for Andrew Benintendi entering the season, with the thought that he could take the step from good player to great.  At the All-Star Break he’s fallen far short of that, hitting .274 with 7 HR, 38 RBI, 42 R and 9 SB.  Now we are all left to wonder if he can recover and take that step or will 2019 ultimately be a lost year.

The biggest red flag has been a regression in his approach, as both his SwStr% (11.4%, up from an 8.3% career mark) and O-Swing% (33.4%, up from a 29.4% career mark) have taken significant steps backward.  Opposing pitchers have changed the script a little bit, throwing him more breaking balls (27.96%) and fewer offspeed pitches (11.55%).  That doesn’t necessarily support the struggles, as it’s his Whiff% against Hard pitches that has really gone the wrong way.  That said, none of the numbers would represent concern:

  • Hard – 12.50%
  • Breaking – 12.50%
  • Offspeed – 13.58%

You would expect that would lead to better than his current 22.9% strikeout rate.  Maybe part of the problem is that he has taken more of a fly ball approach, perhaps in an effort to join into the home run barrage that baseball has seen.  He enters the break with a 46.2% fly ball rate, up from a career 38.7% mark, yet his HR/FB is just 6.5%.

The fly ball rate has been elevated all season long, but that hasn’t impacted his ability to hit the ball hard (35.9% Hard%) or willingness to use the entire field (28.3% Oppo%).  Even if he could just maintain last season’s 9.4% HR/FB, something he showed in May (11.4%), and the results would be significantly better.  Considering that he had 10 doubles in June (only 1 HR) and it’s easy to envision him figuring things out.

Maybe he’s not going to morph into a 30 HR threat, but he still should be able to be a 20/20 producer (maybe even 25/25).  Couple that with the approach and willingness to use the entire field, and even if his .346 BABIP takes a step back the increased power will help to maintain his average.  Playing in Boston, with a strong supporting cast around him, that still represents a player you want to buy.

While others may be willing to write him off, strike now before he starts to turn things around.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball


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