Lead-off: Whit Merrifield
Esky Magic died last year and it died early on. The Royals offense looked listless at times early in the season during the 2016 campaign and a poor start for Alcides Escobar didn’t help anything.
Whit Merrifield came through for the Royals and provided a spark over his first two months with the Royals. If not for an abysmal July that saw Merrifield post a slash line of .170/.241/.245, he may have had one of the better rookie campaigns ever.
After being demoted to the minors to overcome his frustrations, he’d come back in September and post excellent numbers over the final months of the season. In 112 plate appearances to close out the year, he slashed .307/.360/.416.
In 112 plate appearances to close out the year, [Merrifield] slashed .307/.360/.416.
‘Two-Hit Whit’ is already a fan favorite and doesn’t shy away from the spotlight that comes along with being the lead-off hitter. In fact, it was one of his better statistical batting positions last year.
Merrifield saw the bulk of his plate appearances at either the first or second position in the lineup last year, and his slash line of .299/.342/.430 across 114 plate appearances proves that he can handle setting the table. His speed and ability to swipe bags wont hurt his chances at leading off any either.