When the American League All-Star team is announced, there will be a KC Royals player on it.
That’s because there has to be—each major league club must have at least one representative. That’s how Royals like Aaron Crow (2011), Gil Meche (2007), Mark Redman (2006) and Mike McDougal (2003) became All-Stars.
During Kansas City’s lean years, there wasn’t much to choose from when picking the club’s All-Star representative; it was a little like a game of schoolyard pick ’em choosing the least objectionable option.
Then there were seasons like 2015 when fan voting combined with team success put six players on the team and Omar Infante led the second base vote well into the summer.
Which of the 2022 KC Royals is most worthy of making the All-Star team?
Utility player extraordinaire Whit Merrifield has been to the last two All-Star games and has rebounded from a terrible start to the 2022 season. Catcher Salvador Perez has been a fan favorite and has seven ASG appearances under his belt.
Left fielder Andrew Benintendi, however, should represent the Royals in this year’s game, which is set for July 19 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Benintendi came to Kansas City from Boston in a February 2021 three-team trade that also involved the Mets and seven players plus cash considerations. The Royals gave up outfielders Franchy Cordero to Boston and Khalil Lee to New York to get Benintendi, who hit .276 with 17 home runs in his first KC season.
Why does KC Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi deserve a 2022 ASG berth?
After his resurgent 2021 campaign and finishing the first month of this season with a .373/.419/.463 slash line, Benintendi has tailed off in May and June, but still sits at .301/.365/.390 with a pair of home runs and 23 RBIs. Six times he’s logged three hits in a game and he’s twice put together hitting streaks of at least nine games.
Benintendi has missed just one of the club’s 64 games this year and has played 61 of those in left field. He hasn’t made an error this season and recorded an outfield assist May 17 against the White Sox when he threw out Josh Harrison at home plate in the eighth inning to help preserve the 2-1 lead that stood up as the final score.
Although he’s slumped with a .203 June average, he entered Sunday on a four-game hitting streak that included a pinch-hit double after which he scored the winning run in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory at San Francisco.
With his 2022 success, Benintendi is both a likely trade deadline target and worthy of an All-Star nod. That honor could make the Royals decide to keep him or increase his trade value.
Andrew Benintendi should represent the Royals in this year’s All-Star Game.