The Yankees have a not-so-secret weapon for the post-season and he’s just getting hot

Alexander Wilson
andrew benintendi, yankees
Aug 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Andrew Benintendi (18) hits a single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

There’s one interesting stat during the New York Yankees‘ three-game winning streak that should be mentioned. Trade deadline acquisition Andrew Benintendi has recorded two hits in each of those wins, resulting in 4–2 scorelines.

Benintendi recorded just three two-hit performances prior to this three-game stretch with the Yankees, tallying nine alone in the month of July with the Kansas City Royals. However, it seems as if he’s found his bat once again, elevating his batting average to .305 with a 38% on-base rate and a .398 slugging percentage.

In fact, the Yankees are getting a first-hand look at how valuable Benintendi can be in high-leverage situations. In the last three games, the Yankees have faced off against star pitchers Alek Manoah and Max Scherzer. Benintendi performed valiantly against both, even earning a positive comment from Scherzer after the win on Monday.

“That’s not what lost the ballgame. It’s really the Benintendi at-bats,” Max Scherzer said after the game.

Prior to joining the Yankees, Benintendi hit .320 with a 38.7% on base rate, recording a 127 wRC+. So far, with the Yankees, he’s hitting .241 with a 34.7% on-base rate and 117 wRC+. Offensively, he hasn’t exactly matched expectations, but his performance in the last few games is an indicator of a hot streak, which is exactly what manager Aaron Boone has been waiting for.

The Yankees have found the perfect spot in the lineup for Benintendi:

The team is getting unbelievable value out of Benintendi batting lead-off, hitting .364 with a .440 on-base percentage and .636 slugging rate. He’s tallied eight hits, a homer, and five RBIs over 22 at-bats.

Despite the big sample size difference, Benintendi‘s lead-off numbers are much better than DJ LeMahieu’s. This year, DJ is hitting .267 with a 36.8% on-base rate batting lead-off, but he’s been hitting 5th the last few games with Benintendi on fire.

In fact, the Yankees actually tried out a new sequence, hitting Benintendi 1st, LeMahieu 2nd, and Aaron Judge 3rd. That is expected to change with the return of Giancarlo Stanton this week, who will slot back into the cleanup role.

However, it is a great sign that the former Kansas City Royal is dominating once again and showcasing his value. Come the playoffs, his contact abilities will be extremely beneficial. He’s been a catalyst for the team the past three games, proving he can win games on his own with timely hitting.

With runners in scoring position, Benintendi is hitting .300 with a 34.8% on-base rate, including six hits over 20 at-bats. He’s earned nine RBIs in that sample size. It is quite clear they want him available in high leverage spots, which is why leading off makes a lot of sense for the 28-year-old.