07/28/22 - Newly acquired outfielder New York Yankees Andrew Benintendi walks out of the team dugout during batting practice before their teams game against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, Thursday, July 28, 2022, in New York. Photo by Jason Szenes for the New York Post
Late Wednesday night, the Yankees announced that they had acquired All-Star left-fielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for three minor league pitchers: Chandler Champlain, T.J. Sikkema, and RHP Beck Way. Not only does this move add a solid left-handed bat to lengthen the lineup, but it also adds someone who won a Gold Glove in the outfield last season.
Going into his debut, Benintendi hit .320 with 3 homers, 39 RBI, and a wRC+ of 126, the highest of his career. What makes him a great fit for this lineup is his low chase rate. His 22 percent chase rate is in the 82nd percentile in the league. That leads to his 13.3 percent strikeout rate, which puts him in the top eight percent of the league. It also puts him second on the Yankees, behind DJ LeMahieu at 12.3 percent (of players with more than 3 plate appearances). Benintendi’s 2.0 fWAR this year puts him fifth on the team behind Aaron Judge (5.7), DJ LeMahieu (3.1), and Jose Trevino (2.7), and Matt Carpenter (2.1). He can fit in anywhere in the lineup, but will likely slot in the top three spots, surrounded by LeMahieu and Judge.
The move does come with some questions, however. Benintendi is currently unvaccinated. Why does that matter? It means he won’t be able to travel to Canada — Toronto, specifically. The Yankees have only three more games there later in September, but there is a very real chance the two teams meet in the postseason. It is currently unclear if he will get vaccinated in the near future: “I’m open-minded about it. Not against it. But time will tell, as we get closer, but for now, I’m just focused on getting here, getting comfortable, getting to know the guys and winning baseball games.”
Benintendi definitely will help the team win games — they have slumped to a 10-12 July. While it seems as if the offense has been struggling of late, they lead the majors with a 141 wRC+ as a team this month. Benintendi will help the Yankees in all aspects of the game, and hopefully he will help drive them to a deep postseason run.