KC Royals catcher Salvador Perez will now have Royal company at next week’s All-Star Game.
Perez, who until today was the only Kansas City player selected to play for the American League, will be joined in Denver by Whit Merrifield.
Merrifield, the go-to Royal who the club justifiably feels confident playing just about anywhere on the field but is better known as a second baseman, will be participating in his second All-Star classic. He made the roster in 2019, a season in which he led the majors in hits, tied for the most triples, stole 20 bases, and slashed .302/.348/.463.
The Royals acknowledged Merrifield’s selection this morning:
The team’s release is here.
Thursday’s news that an injury prevented Houston’s Jose Altuve, the fans’ selection to start at second base for the AL, from playing cleared the way for Merrifield’s addition to the AL roster. Players elected by the fans who later withdraw from the team are, per the terms of baseball’s Basic Agreement (current collective bargaining agreement), replaced via the players’ balloting that followed fan voting and, together with the Commissioner’s Office participation, determined each league’s original cast of reserves and pitchers.
While no primary component of the American League selection process resulted in Merrifield making the club, he apparently finished high enough in player voting to earn a spot as a substitute.
The KC Royals’ Merrifield gets an All-Star nod despite a horrendous month.
Merrifield, playing in the next-to-last year of a four-year contract, started the season well with three home runs, 15 RBIs and a .274 average in April. A nosedive in May (he hit .229 with one homer) ruined that decent start.
But not surprisingly, Merrifield returned to form in June when, in 27 games, he slashed .351/.375/.544 and equaled his combined home run output for April and May with four and drove in 17 runs.
At the start of today’s play, he’s hitting .272 with 20 doubles (most of any Royal), eight homers, and 46 RBIs in 88 games. He’s tied with Perez for most hits on the club with 95.
He’s also played in every KC game, which should come as no shock because he owns the big leagues’ longest consecutive games played streak with 395.
And Merrifield’s 24 stolen bases—he’s been caught only once—are the best in the majors.
So, whether this is truly an All-Star season for Merrifield or not, he’ll be at Colorado’s Coors Field for Tuesday night’s game.
Whit Merrifield will join KC Royals teammate Salvador Perez in this year’s All-Star Game.