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Benintendi doesn't believe struggles will continue: 'Too good a hitter'

Rich Schultz / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Chicago White Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi doesn't believe his struggles during the first two months of the 2024 season are going to become the norm for the remainder of his campaign.

"You have to keep showing up," Benintendi told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"I still think I'm way too good a hitter for this to continue. So it can only go up from here. It doesn't feel like I'm hitting as bad as I am right now. Everybody sees the batting average. When you look deeper, there's more to the story."

Benintendi is hitting .187/.218/.269 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 29 games. His minus-1.6 fWAR and 36 wRC+ are the worst marks among qualified position players, while his defense in left field doesn't grade well due to poor range and arm-value metrics, according to Baseball Savant.

The former No. 1 prospect and one-time All-Star believes bad luck is making his numbers look far worse than they are.

"My batted ball profile is almost better than last year," Benintendi said.

"You look at the numbers, I'm the one of unluckiest hitters in the league right now. The expected batting average and expected slug are significantly higher than what the numbers are showing right now."

Benintendi might be on to something.

Comparing Benintendi's last 2 seasons

2023 2024
BABIP .301 .213
xSLG .375 .383
Barrel% 2.9 5.8
Exit Velo 86.6 87.9

Benintendi's under the spotlight for the last-place White Sox more often than some of his teammates because of the five-year, $75-million contract he signed before the 2023 campaign. Manager Pedro Grifol isn't going to let Benintendi's deal impact decisions about playing time, and the skipper intends to keep sending out the 29-year-old on a regular basis.

"It has nothing to do with the money, it has everything to do with what he's done in his career," Grifol said. "You just don't give up on a player like that. Now, if it's the All-Star break and he has 250-to-300 at-bats, what are you going to do?"

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