KC Royals: How Andrew Benintendi became himself again

(Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Andrew Benintendi
(Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /

Andrew Benintendi was acquired by the KC Royals in a February 2021 three-team trade with the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox. For Benintendi, Boston received Franchy Cordero, Luis De La Rosa, and Grant Gambrell from the Royals, who also sent Khalil Lee to the Mets.

It’s been just over a year since the trade took place, but it will take much longer to determine how the prospects involved pan out in the major leagues.

What is clear, however, is that Benintendi is working out quite well for the Royals. And that’s a good thing, especially considering the downturn his career took before he left Boston.

At first glance, Benintendi seems to be a slightly better than league-average hitter (he posted a 106 wRC+ in 134 games last season). He won a Gold Glove in left field (his first) and seems to be pretty good at the plate even if a little streaky. Not a bad trade return, right?

Appreciating Andrew Benintendi’s value to the KC Royals requires a close look.

But a deeper look is necessary to determine just how good the Benintendi deal has been for the Royals. Important to understand is not only where Benintendi is now, but where he’s been and what has changed for him at the plate. He’s seen his fair share of extreme ups and extreme downs since starting his pro career as a top draft pick and quickly taking his place among the top prospects in the game, then exploding onto the major league scene.

To understand exactly what Benintendi has become for the Royals, it’s important to look at how he started.