1) Whit Merrifield Call Up Was A Bit Strange
The KC Royals announced that they had optioned infielder Christian Colon, who had started game1, to Omaha and promoted infielder Whit Merrifield to Kansas City.
Since Merrifield was not on the 40-man roster, the Kansas City Royals had to make room for him and chose designate AAA outfielder Jose Martinez for assignment.
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Martinez, who won the Pacific Coast League batting title by hitting .384 for AAA Omaha in 2015, had been heating up after a slow start to the 2016 season. It’s a big odd that the KC Royals would simply discard him when he was hitting .298/.356/.433.
Yes, Jose Martinez is 28-years-old. Many don’t see him as a real prospect. But he’s a guy that might be able to hit at the major-league level. I’m guessing the Kansas City Royals might be trading him for cash or a low level prospect rather than simply allowing another team that needs an outfielder in the high minors claim him for free.
The 27-year-old Merrifield was hitting .278/.342/.458 at Omaha, which doesn’t seem a whole lot better than Martinez’s numbers. Yet, scouts don’t just look at results, Some guys are AAAA players who are able to thrive at AAA but don’t have the bat speed to succeed in the major-leagues.
Also, Merrifield’s major appeal is that he can play every position on the field except catcher, many of them with plus defense. That almost makes him a perfect utility man. In many ways, his pedigree is much like another versatile, but unheralded prospect named Ben Zobrist—who became a hugely valuable player in the major leagues (including the second half of 2015 with the Royals).
Merrifield did manage to collect his first major-league hit while starting in left field in game 2 Wednesday night.
Good job, Whit. Hope there are many more to come.
Next: Alec Mills