Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman’s KC Royals Projections series for 2022. Between now and Opening Day, our writers are analyzing how various Royals performed last season and predicting how they might fare this year. Up today is Andrew Benintendi.
Andrew Benintendi looked to be a part of the Red Sox core when had excellent 2017 and 2018 seasons, slashing a combined .280/.359/.444 with an .803 OPS, 36 home runs, 177 RBIs, and 41 stolen bases. He even helped the club to a World Series title.
But after he hit a combined .255 from 2019-2020, Boston obviously felt it was time to move on from Benintendi, and the Sox made the left fielder part of the three-team trade that brought him to the Royals.
In 2021, Benintendi had his shares of ups and downs. He started the season off with a slow April before heating up in May and June. A fractured rib then sidelined him for three weeks and took him out of his groove.
But Benintendi got back on track and finished the season with a hot September by slashing .343/.387/.574 with five home runs and 27 RBIs.
Benintendi finished 2021 slashing .276/.324/.442, homering 17 times, and driving in 73 runs to rebound from those poor couple of seasons in Boston. He even capped off the year snagging a Gold Glove for his outstanding defense in left field.
But how will Benintendi fare for the Royals in 2022?
How Baseball Reference & FanGraphs project the KC Royals’ Andrew Benintendi.
Baseball Reference expects Benintendi to decline in 2022 with a slash of .262/.329/.420 and 13 homers and 58 RBI.
FanGraphs (Depth Chart version) views Benintendi slashing .268/.335/.436 with 16 home runs and 67 RBIs.
What kind of season will Andrew Benintendi have for the 2022 KC Royals?
Although Baseball Reference expects a slight decline from Benintendi and FanGraphs sees him maintaining his general 2021 level of play, he can improve upon last year.
When Benintendi was hot, he hit all over the field. And the only time he found himself in a slump, other than the beginning of the year, was when his rib fracture threw him off his game.
When Benintendi gets in a groove, he can be a monster—his .343 September is proof of that.
In fact, and assuming the Royals re-sign and don’t trade him (this is his last season of arbitration eligibility), 2022 could be seen as a make-or-break for Benintendi in Kansas City. However, if he maintains his 2021 level of play, don’t be surprised if the club brings him back.
As long as Andrew Benintendi stays healthy, Royals fans can expect him to continue to be a stalwart defender and hit well.