KC Royals: Are Merrifield, Eibner, And Orlando For Real?
By John Viril
The KC Royals have gained a much-needed offense boost from young position players Whit Merrifield, Brett Eibner, and Paulo Orlando that have helped them overcome injuries to Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas. Are the young guys for real, or just riding a hot streak?
That’s the biggest question that Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore needs to answer over the next six weeks before the August 1 trading deadline. If the young players can be counted on for solid production, then Moore can focus his efforts on landing another starting pitcher. If not, Moore will need to seek help for his lineup.
Utility man Whit Merrifield, outfielder Brett Eibner, and outfielder Paulo Orlando all have OPS numbers over .800. Rookie Cheslor Cuthbert is also starting regularly, but his .268/.303/.368 triple slash is more in line with what you’d expect from a first-year player getting his first taste of regular action.
The solid production from these four players has helped the KC Royals remain afloat in the AL Central despite losing two 2015 All-Stars in Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas over the last month, and Omar Infante and Kendrys Morales ineffectiveness in the season’s first 10 weeks. At 38-31, and only 0.5 behind AL Central leader Cleveland Indians, the Kansas City Royals are in the thick of the race.
At this point, the young reserves have given the Kansas City Royals everything they could have expected before the season began. They have stepped in on a short term basis to handle an injury crisis. But, can they give more? Can they produce over the long-term?
Answering this question correctly could be the key to the KC Royals hopes of repeating in 2016. Let’s look at each of the players individually:
Next: Whit Merrifield