Andrew Benintendi admittedly had a frustrating first half to the 2019 season.
The Boston Red Sox outfielder, who has been showered with massive expectations ever since he soared through Boston’s farm system after being selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft, has not taken the massive leap many expected him to in his third full season in the majors.
Benintendi was batting .274 with seven home runs at the All-Star Break.
Since then, the 25-year-old has been one of the hotter bats Alex Cora has plugged into the lineup, slashing .322/.388/.562 since the break with five home runs, raising his batting average to .287.
So what changed? Well, according to The Athletic’s Peter Gammons, Boston hitting coaches Tim Hyers and Andy Barkett “homed in” on what they were calling a “quick hip” in Benintendi’s swing. Simply, he was pulling off the ball. That led to a few small tweaks in the lefty’s stance and swing.
“They felt he was opening up the hip and jumping out too early, which cost him the link between his feet to his hips to his hands, and the natural body flow of his swing,” Gammons wrote. “They appreciated that this is easier to correct in theory than in practice.”
Following a series in Tampa Bay, Benintendi exploded, going 10-for-18 in the following series against the New York Yankees.
“All of a sudden, it clicked there (in that last game) in Tampa,” Barkett said. “From then on, the swing has been one connected action.”
In August, Benintendi is 16-for-47 (.340).
“I feel as if I have rediscovered my balance,” Benintendi said. “I’m able to drive the ball to all fields, use the park and still pull off-speed pitches. I’m really starting to feel comfortable.”
While it increasingly is looking like it might be a lost season for the Red Sox, who entered Tuesday 8.5 games out of the American League Wild Card race, Benintendi’s development has implications that extend well beyond this season.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images