Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield has been named to MLB’s annual All-Underrated team.
MLB reporter Anthony Castrovince threw together an eleven man team of players who are under valued around the league. The Kansas City Royals make an appearance in the form of recently extended second baseman Whit Merrifield.
The value of Merrifield around the Kansas City fan base is well known. Unfortunately, that does not spread around the league. There are some rules for players to be considered for this team. One of which is two years of service time, which Merrifield just surpassed.
The Royals know what they have in their 30 year old infielder, which is why they signed him to an extension. They plan on him being a great bridge to a gap in the coming years as they go through a rebuild.
It is tough to find a better underdog story than Merrifield. As Castrovince tells us, he was never a big name prospect. He was not well known. He was a ninth round pick in 2010 who worked his way into an MLB role at the age of 27.
Since breaking on the scene with the Kansas City Royals, Merrifield has accumulated a 9.5 fWAR. The bulk of that came during the 2018 season when he was worth 5.2 fWAR. The biggest stat that Castrovince pointed to was the fact that Merrifield led the league in hits and steals (192/45), which no player has done since World War II. Pretty impressive.
That is what ultimately led to numbers like 120 wRC+, and having an offensive value of 24.3. Even with all of that, he finished 17th in MVP voting and was not an All-Star. So, yes, I think it is safe to agree that Merrifield is underrated.
It is a good thing that the Kansas City Royals saw enough value to extend Merrifield for 16.5 million dollars guaranteed. It truly seems like a steal.
The Rest Of The Team
This seems like a really nice team to be a part of. Players like Jose Martinez and Travis Shaw made the list as well. It goes to show that some treasures are left only for hometown fans to enjoy. Merrifield’s partner up the middle is Marcus Semien, with Kyle Freeland on the bump.
Keep underestimating Merrifield. The Kansas City Royals are happy to keep him as a little known source of production. He is really a great example of what hard work can do.