5) Whit Merrifield Has Been Just What The Royals Needed
Merrifield has displaced Alcides Escobar from the leadoff spot, providing the team with sound production from the no. 1 position. While I defended Ned Yost‘s decision to hit Alcides Escobar no. 1 on psychological belief grounds, the team’s long losing streak was good reason to make the change.
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Whit Merrifield has now reached base in 20 of his 21 starts as a member of the Kansas City Royals. His consistency at the top of the lineup has helped the KC Royals break out of a horrific offensive slump that saw the team held to one run or less for six consecutive games.
Overall, Merrifield is slashing a healthy .330/.344/.484 and has seized the second base job from the largely ineffective Omar Infante.
At this point, no one really knows if the rookie can keep it up. He’s never really excelled at the minor-league level, so his current performance might just be a hot streak. Even so, manager Ned Yost is riding Merrifield’s production as long as he can.
Merrifield is still a useful player even if his OPS regresses into the mid .700’s rather than his current .828, since he can play every position except catcher. Right now, he’s giving a rather convincing Ben Zobrist imitation.
Let’s hope its not a mirage.
Next: Edinson Volquez