The KC Royals aren’t going to be competing for a playoff spot in 2019, but fans went into this season knowing that. Fortunately, they have Whit Merrifield, who is the face of the franchise.
When the Kansas City Royals called up Whit Merrifield in 2016, no one expected him to become the type of player he currently is. The former ninth round pick out of South Carolina in 2010 was a hero in the College World Series, hitting the walk-off single to give the Gamecocks the title in 2010.
Fast forward to his major league career.
Merrifield was supposedly going to be called up in 2015 when the Royals were pushing for home field advantage in the American League. Instead, the Royals traded for Ben Zobrist and the rest is history. The Royals went on to win the World Series and Merrifield missed out on being a part of it.
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Royals fans love Zobrist and he provided a lot for the team during that championship run, but it still sucks that Merrifield didn’t get to be a part of the World Series journey. He was called up the next season and instantly stole Royals fans’ hearts with his hot hitting and speed around the base paths.
Merrifield was 27 years old when he got called up in 2016, which is certainly on the older side for a major league debut. Many thought Merrifield would be a one or two season wonder and then start to slow up a bit. He’s done the opposite.
Here are Merrifield’s numbers since his MLB call-up:
- 2016 – .283/.323/.392, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 8 SB (332 PA)
- 2017 – .288/.324/.460, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 34 SB (630 PA)
- 2018 – .304/.367/.438, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 45 SB (707 PA)
Prior to Tuesday night’s game, Merrifield was slashing .342/.375/.526 with one home run, four RBI, and three stolen bases in 40 plate appearances. He has a 30-game hitting streak (dating back to last season) after leading off Tuesday’s game with a triple. That ties George Brett for the franchise record and this is EXACTLY what the KC Royals need in 2019.
The KC Royals aren’t competitive, but having someone like Whit Merrifield is huge for this organization right now. For one, the guy actually WANTS to be in Kansas City despite the team not being any good. He signed a four-year extension prior to the season and has had nothing but nice things to say about the organization that drafted him.
Merrifield is not only a good guy, but he’s a good player and he’ll be a great mentor for these young players that will be coming up through the ranks in the coming years. Merrifield spent nearly six years in the minor leagues and knows what it’s like to finally get a chance. He’s grateful for this opportunity and appreciates the Royals.
Merrifield is also awesome to have because he can play just about anywhere on the diamond. He’s mostly spent time in right field this season due to the lack of options there, but he’s seen time at second base as well. If Nicky Lopez is brought up at some point, maybe Merrifield can eventually become the permanent Royals right fielder moving forward.
With the team not winning many games, Whit Merrifield is something for the fan base to cling to. How long will his hit streak go on for? Will he make an All-Star Game? How many bases will he steal? These are all questions that Merrifield has fans buzzing about and it’s awesome that fans, even with Salvador Perez out for the year, have a favorite to pull for with Whit.
Whit Merrifield is exactly what the Royals need because he’s a likable, humble guy who has worked hard to get to this point. He never complains and is the face of a franchise that isn’t giving the fans much to root for these days.
Royals fans can agree on one thing though. They’ll ALWAYS pull for Whit Merrifield. He’s the perfect Royal and hopefully he’s still around when the team gets back to their winning ways in a few years.