Not every fantasy story will be about flashy players and brilliant titles. Sometimes you have to write about worker bees and non-sexual players.
To come in: Andrew Benintendi
I’m declaring yesterday Andrew Benintendi Day because he will probably have the best fantasy game of the year. Benintendi had two strikes in a 6-2 victory over the Angels with a homer. He scored two runs, drove two. He also stole the base.
Benintendi, providing category juice, qualifies as news. It was his first steal of the year and only his third homer. So far, most of Benintendi’s fantasy value has come from his .298 GPA, although this has not resulted in a large circulation. He scored 25 runs and was knocked out in 25 of 65 games.
Despite staying healthy all year, Benintendi is just an OF58 in the 5×5 rankings at the moment. There is some value there, but you have to squint to see it. (In one of my personal hybrid leagues where walking and dodging strikes are important, Benintendi jumped to OF30. Let’s say that for Benintendi, he controls the strike zone very well.)
When I discussed Mixed trade LABR With Joe Sheehan A few weeks ago, I offered Joe some outfielders. After thinking, I added that he might also think of “Benintendi, the most boring fantasy player on the planet.”
The irony is that Benintendi was once a rowdy player and a brilliant prospect. Before the 2017 season it was in the top three on all major message boards (Primarily featured by Baseball America and MLB.com). He immediately had a 20-20 season, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. As a sophomore, he hit a luscious .290/.366/.465 slash, 16 more homers and 21 interceptions. Benintendi had a national reputation associated with the Red Sox roster and regular Boston competition. He won the ring with the Sox in 2018.
[Play in one of Sportzshala’s MLB DFS contests]
Benintendi’s star faded in his last two seasons in Boston. His OPS+ dropped to 99 in 2019 – essentially the average hitter in the league – and he ran significantly less. For most of 2020, he was injured. He moved to the Royals last year, posting slightly better than the league average (OPS+ 105). His mojo can be cooked on coasters; he stole eight bags but was caught nine times.
Benintendi also won the Golden Glove for the first time in 2021. And at the same time, we have an almost perfect line-up of players. We’re talking about a left fielder from Kansas City, a former hype prospect, a good defenseman, a capable offensive guy, but not a real star.
Voila. it Alex Gordon, 2.0.
I’ll let you decide if this is a compliment or a criticism, a feature or a bug. (In the real world, this is probably a feature; Benintendi’s defense and plate discipline make him a regular name in trading buzz, not to mention his expiring contract.) In the meantime, I’m gearing up for another 4-0-1-0. line (possibly with a walk) from Benintendi on a Tuesday evening. Of course, he’s still a guy with a reasonable depth of imagination. Not everyone can take over the world.