Andrew Benintendi uses old college try to figure things out

Rob Bradford
July 23, 2019 - 7:31 am

ST. PETERSBURG,  Fla. -- Monday was a good night for the Benintendi family.

Not only was Andrew Benintendi one of the stars for the Red Sox in their pivotal, series-opening, 9-4 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field -- going 3-for-5 with a home run -- but his father, Chris, was also presented with a nice surprise at well. (For a complete recap of the Sox' win, click here.)

That leg kick in Benintendi's swing Chris disliked so much was gone.

"My dad texted me and he was never a fan of the leg kick," Andrew noted. "He knows my swing best second to me, and he knows it better than me sometimes. He doesn’t like it."

What the elder Bentinendi saw against Tampa Bay should have looked very, very familiar. That leg kick was gone and the image of that swing he had with the University of Arkansas was back.

As it turned out, Benintendi's swing alteration was a product of going back to looking at his life as a Razorback, an exercise suggested by Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers a few weeks before.

At this point, I’m trying to look at anything. It’s just simple. Small movements. There is no big leg kick or anything like that. It gives me more time to see the ball.

"Compared to what it was you can see a big difference," said Benintendi explaining what he discovered when comparing his college swing to what he had been using for the majority of 2019. "I feel like the last 1 1/2, two years I’ve had a decent size leg kick and when I’m clicking and I feel good that’s working but obviously right now it’s not so I’m trying to simplify it. These guys throw so hard now they produce all the power so you just have to touch it.

"I remember in Detroit I got rid of it, and then the All-Star break, and then the first few days back and then I went back to the leg kick for a few games. I just feel better when I don’t do it."

It is hard to argue with the results, particularly considering what Benintendi had been going through up until the change. He still finds himself hitting just .266 with a .776 OPS, but this seemed to be a huge step (no pun intended) in the right direction.

"He just wanted to simplify, try less movement. We looked at some of his college videos," Hyers said. "You just want to go back and see how a guy maybe got off track, kind of reverse-engineer it. I looked at some A-Ball and minor-league stuff trying to figure out how we got to this point. He's a young player so it's not that far back. You always want to go back to the moves they like to make. Every swing is different but you want to find out how they like to move."

"Obviously, I’m going to stick with the college swing until it stops working and then I’ll do something else," said a smiling Benintendi.