Outfield Projections (and Jorge Soler)
Usual suspect: Whit Merrifield
Merrifield has been the KC Royals’ best player for some time now. He’s hit above .300 for consecutive seasons and has led the league in hits in both of those campaigns as well. FG expects him to take a small step back (99 wRC+ compared to 110), but B-Ref projects pretty much more of the same. As he moves to the outfield full-time, or close to it, his offensive production should remain stellar.
Phillips has had a rough past couple of years in a Royals uniform. With that said, his awful performance at the plate could be partially attributed to not having steady reps. It’s unlikely that changes a ton in 2020, but both systems project him to perform at a more playable level. When taking into account his elite-level defense, things may be looking up.
You can insert pretty much everything said about Phillips and apply it to Starling as well. He’s a great defender and a talented baserunner, but his bat leaves more than some to be desired. He was a bit better of a hitter than Phillips last season, so his hike in numbers isn’t quite as extreme.
Disappointing finding: Jorge Soler
Soler’s regression isn’t severe, but the home run total is projected to be. FG predicts a drop from 48 to 35, while B-Ref calls for just 33 long balls. On a one-year contract, it would not be a good thing for him.