KC Royals: Orlando, Merrifield Making Most Of Time In KC
By Mike Courson
Whit Merrifield’s Minor League Career
Merrifield may not have the Olympic past, but his story is equally as impressive because he came from virtually nowhere. As a ninth-round pick in the 2009 amateur draft, Merrifield has spent his entire professional career in the Kansas CIty Royals organization.
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Like Orlando, he rarely posted exceptional numbers for the KC Royals farm system. Over seven seasons in the minors, he batted a respectable .274. He has typically risen to the occasion, batting .319 in 2014. Most of that season was spent in Omaha where he batted .340.
Prior to his call-up this season, Merrifield had cooled back off. He batted just .265 in 2015, and was at .278 before his services were needed with the KC Royals.
The rest is history. In his short time in the bigs, Merrifield has already become the first Kansas City Royals player to hit safely in his first nine starts. He scored runs in nine-straight games to tie a KC Royals rookie record. He also set a team record for reaching base in each of his first 18 games.
Simply put, Merrifield is a stud. He currently sits third on the squad with a .330 average, and neither Brett Eibner nor Reymond Fuentes above him have more than 40 at bats. He ranks fourth on the team with an 0.828 OPS. Again, only Hosmer above him has the requisite at bats to truly compare.
Merrifield’s numbers no doubt improved after his first career triple in Tuesday’s win against Chicago. Just prior to that hit, he smashed a long foul ball that might have foreshadowed his big evening. He later flied out to the track in right-center, then hit his first home run just over the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen in left field.
The KC Royals have proven to be one of the streakiest teams in the major leagues this season. Kansas City won six-straight games. Coincidentally or not, Merrifield’s day off on June 2 kick-started an 8-game skid for the Kansas City Royals, who have now won three-straight with Tuesday’s win.
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Key to that recent success has been solid pitching from Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura, and Edinson Volquez. But those pitchers are finally getting some support. Those runs are a byproduct of guys like Orlando and Merrifield pulling their weight offensively on a nightly basis; two guys making the most of what could be a bad situation in Kansas City.