Whit Merrifield is the undisputed “Iron Man” of the KC Royals. He’s played in 465 consecutive games through Wednesday, which is by far the longest active streak in not only the majors, but also Royals history. Although he may be known for being an Iron Man and looks to finish this season by playing 469 straight games, Merrifield recently joined a small but significant group of big league players.
When he hit two doubles in Wednesday night’s game against Cleveland, Merrifield crossed the 40-double threshold and ended the night with 41 for the year. In addition to being a doubles machine, Merrifield has also been a steals guru. He’s nabbed 40 stolen bases, and is second in the majors in that category only to Starling Marte of the A’s, who has 45 through Wednesday.
What’s so special about this is that Merrifield has clinched a 40-40 season in doubles and stolen bases. But he’s also done it before.
Whit Merrifield has achieved the feat not once, but twice for the KC Royals.
Not only has Merrifield collected 41 doubles and stolen 40 bases this season, but it’s also his second 40-40 campaign. The last time Merrifield did it was 2018 when he hit 43 doubles and stole 45 bases, and those 45 steals led the majors. The double 40-40’s put him in a pretty special group:
Merrifield also joins Johnny Damon as the only two Royals to ever achieve this particular 40-40. Damon hit 42 doubles and stole 46 bases (which led the American League) in 2000.
What’s equally impressive about Merrifield’s two 40-40 seasons is that according to BaseballSavant, Merrifield’s 28.6-feet per second sprint speed ranks No. 88 in the majors among qualified players, and second to only Edward Olivares on the Royals. This shows that while Merrifield may not have the most eye-popping speed, he’s a smart and savvy baserunner.
Whit Merrifield has achieved another 40-double, 40-stolen base season, making him the only Royals player to accomplish the feat twice.