2) The Three Rookies In The Lineup Enjoyed A Good Day
Brett Eibner, Cheslor Cuthbert, and Whit Merrifield all enjoyed solid days on Sunday. All three were in the lineup, and all three contributed. Merrifield went 1 for 4 with a walk and run scored in the leadoff spot and Cheslor Cuthbert chimed in with a 1 for 3 and an RBI double.
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Brett Eibner did the real damage, going 3 for 4 with a solo shot off Seattle starter Mike Montgomery in the seventh inning that chased the ex-Royals top prospect from the game.
No analyst expected much of a contribution from the Kansas City Royals farm system before the season began. Today, Merrifield, Cuthbert, and Eibner are making those pre-season evaluations look silly. The three have combined to contribute 1.9 bWAR (Wins Above Replacement) a little more than half-way through the 2016 season.
What’s impressed me about this trio is how polished they look. Clearly, they piled up a lot of minor-league game experience due to the big club being stocked with enough talent to win the last two American League pennants.
Whit Merrifield has the most certain major-league future, since his ability to play plus defense at seven positions will keep him on rosters for years to come. Yet, it is 23-year-old Cheslor Cuthbert who has the most upside. The former seven-figure international signing from Nicaragua is hitting a solid .282/.310/.442 with 8 home runs and 28 RBIs in 206 at bats. He’s also doing a fine job defensively at third base by the eye test, though metrics peg him as nothing more than league average.
Eibner has showed impressive pop, with 6 doubles and 3 home runs in only 52 at bats. Nine of his 17 hits have gone for extra bases. Eibner can also run the bases, though he has yet to swipe a bag.
The KC Royals playoff hopes would be a pipe dream without them.
Next: Alex Gordon