Kansas City Royals: Faces of the franchise

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Salvador Perez
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Salvador Perez /
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Kansas City Royals
CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 16: Whit Merrifield /

Whit Merrifield

After a solid half-season of work in 2016, Whit Merrifield got invited to spring training the following season to compete for the starting second base job. Raúl Mondesí ended up winning the job, sending Merrifield to AAA for a few weeks. Once he returned, he never looked back.

Hitting .288 last season with 19 home runs, 78 RBIs and leading the AL in stolen bases with 34, Merrifield had a breakout 2017 campaign. We know what to expect of him on the field. It’s time to measure his ability to lead the team.

Although he isn’t the most vocal player in the clubhouse, Merrifield is among the most hard-working and professional players you’ll find anywhere. Those two traits, along with the fact he’s under club control until 2023, make Merrifield a leader and franchise centerpiece until noted otherwise.