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Super Benintendi flashing surprising power

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

KANSAS CITY -- Andrew Benintendi's 100th career hit was his longest. It was also a sign that his power is no longer just projectable, but now a part of his game.

In the top of the fourth inning, Benintendi unloaded on a high, outside fastball from Ian Kennedy on a 1-2 count and sent it splashing into the waterfall in right-center field at Kauffman Stadium.

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KANSAS CITY -- Andrew Benintendi's 100th career hit was his longest. It was also a sign that his power is no longer just projectable, but now a part of his game.

In the top of the fourth inning, Benintendi unloaded on a high, outside fastball from Ian Kennedy on a 1-2 count and sent it splashing into the waterfall in right-center field at Kauffman Stadium.

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The Red Sox wound up taking a 6-4 loss to the Royals on a rare mishap by the bullpen, but Benintendi's missile was the most impressive moment of the day for the visitors.

Statcast™ registered the shot with a projected distance of 454 feet, easily the longest of Benintendi's career. It had the second best distance of any homer by a Boston player this year, trailing only Hanley Ramirez's 469-footer on April 29. And it was the fourth longest hit by anyone at Kauffman Stadium this season.

"When you consider the ease in which he swings, the power that he naturally generates, on days when you get some warm weather and the air is moving a little bit, he's got plenty of distance to carry in even the biggest ballparks," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Maybe when he gets deeper into his career, Benintendi will admire a home run like that. On this one, he sprinted out of the box.

"I know it's a big yard, so when I hit it, I was like, make sure I can get on second base. I think the wind was blowing out too, so that helps," said Benintendi.

The hot and humid air certainly helped, as the ball just kept going and going before the water-logged landing.

The most impressive aspect of the homer was the way the 22-year-old was able to turn on a pitch like that.

"I was really trying to go up and in and it ran to the middle and then just ran outside," said Kennedy. "He'd been missing some pitches up but I just didn't get that one far enough up and in. He didn't miss it."

"Just trying to hit it hard," said Benintendi. "I knew he liked to elevate his fastball so I was trying to look up in the zone and I was fortunate enough to get that one."

Given his 5-foot-10 frame, Benintendi's power wasn't a certainty when the Red Sox made him the seventh overall pick in the 2015 Draft. But just like Boston's other diminutive outfielder -- Mookie Betts -- Benintendi can make up for his lack of size with bat speed. He also worked tirelessly over the winter to get stronger.

Not even halfway through his rookie season, Benintendi has 10 homers and 40 RBIs. In 477 at-bats last season (Majors and Minors combined), Benintendi had 11 home runs.

"He's quick," said Red Sox assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez. "Quickness is power. From point A to point B, he's real short and compact, and that's the power he's got. He has a real nice and short, compact swing that creates that power."

And everyone at Kauffman Stadium witnessed that power on Wednesday.

"This is a tough field to hit the ball that far," said Rodriguez. "That tells you what kind of power this kid has. When he connects, and he connects the right way, the ball carries."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi