Home » Articles » Andrew Benintendi: Expectation vs. Reality

Andrew Benintendi: Expectation vs. Reality

by Matt Cotner

It may have taken 27 games, but Saturday night felt like the first fun White Sox game of the season. This was largely thanks to Andrew Benintendi, who blasted two homers, including a walk-off, in the 8-7 victory over the Rays.

Benintendi has been a controversial player on the White Sox ever since his signing, especially through his struggle during the first month of this season. How much has expectation met reality during his tenure with the White Sox?


Part of why Benintendi has felt so disappointing throughout the first year plus of his contract is the expectations that his signing brought. Before the 2023 season, Benintendi signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the club. While paling in comparison to contracts that some teams give out, this was the largest contract the White Sox had given to any player, ever. Regardless of the realities of the player, the fact that he is the most expensive signing in team history alone led to heightened expectations.


Even if the expectations trap from the contract was not set, the signing seemed to make sense and portend strong confidence in Benintendi and the team. The previous year, Benintendi made his first All-Star game. His reputation coming to the South Side was that of a plus defender, which White Sox fans yearned for in left field after watching Eloy Jimenez in 2022. At the plate, he could get on base. Maybe, the thought went, Benintendi could hit for even more power than he had in the past given his new home ballpark.

All of these factors led to a very rosy picture of the signing with high expectations.

Now comes the reality of the play the White Sox have received from Benintendi over the last year plus. The inflated expectations that many fans had have not come to fruition. Neither, though, has a more realistic expectation for what Benintendi could do before making his way to Chicago. 


First, the defense. Benintendi’s defense was supposed to be average to above average in left field. Since 2016, he has posted -27 Outs Above Average. However, nearly half (-13) of that total has been amassed in a little over one season with the White Sox. His Defensive Runs Saved in 2023 and 2024 with the White Sox are also negative, something that only occurred one other season before moving to the South Side. This output falls well short of the fair expectation of a defensive upgrade in left field.


Any hope of a power renaissance for Benintendi in Chicago was never realized, as he only managed to hit five last year. Benintendi’s heroics on Saturday were his first long balls of the season.

This would be easier to swallow if it wasn’t for the drop-off in overall batting performance as well. A .304 batting average in 2022 with the Yankees and Royals turned to .262 in 2023, and a .191 start to this season. His on-base percentage also dropped precipitously, from .373 to .326 to .224 over the same period.

Other metrics also show a decline. Benintendi’s hard-hit percentage average for his career is 31.4%. In 2023 it was 24.5% and this year it is 25.3%. Similarly, his WRC+ for his career sits at 104, but was only 87 last year and sits at a paltry 42 so far this season. 

Overall, Benintendi has performed worse since joining the White Sox than he had earlier in his career. Both fielding and hitting have lacked behind his pre-Chicago numbers. The hype of his signing, the largest in White Sox history, created an even greater expectation than what was realistic, but Benintendi has failed to reach a more realistic expectation as well. The disparity has only been heightened by his lackluster 2024 season so far.

Hopefully, the big game on Saturday night can be the first step of many to get Benintendi back to the player he realistically can be.

Follow us @SoxOn35th for more throughout the season!

Featured Image: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

You may also like