Royals: Positional battle, Whit Merrifield on the move?

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals, Nicky Lopez
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The young Kansas City Royals second baseman showed his defensive abilities in 2019 but didn’t start to show his offensive progress until the end of the season.

Nicky Lopez

Nicky Lopez is a fun, and interesting player to watch. Though he has some areas to work on, there is every chance that he could step in to take over at second if Whit is moved around the field.

Lopez is a good player to have around, but he needs to continue to show progress with his offense. Nicky ended the season with 103 games played, 91 hits 30 RBIs, 2 home runs, and a slash of .240/.276/.325. These numbers definitely don’t jump out at anyone, especially when compared to Merrifield.

Lopez did show progress throughout the year, though. His discipline improved as he saw his strikeout rate decrease over the course of the season. He also saw most of his offensive stats increase through August and September, holding a September slash of .289/.333/.444. Those numbers can definitely be worked with.

light. Related Story. Royals: Can Whit Merrifield hit 20 home runs in 2020?

Defensively, Lopez is ready. He saw a majority of his games at second with 76 but also saw 33 games at shortstop. Either way, Lopez had little trouble creating plays. At second base, his fielding percentage was .990, while at short, he carried a .992. No issues on defense and he is likely to get better once he is in a stable spot and has even more time in the majors.

Lopez is a great option at second base, but he has to continue to improve on his offense. If he can continue that progress that he showed at the end of the 2019 season, he will have a good shot at seeing a lot of time in Kansas City during the 2020 season.