Whit Merrifield
Whit Merrifield
31-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
Kansas City Royals
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Merrifield ranked among the top 40 hitters in rotisserie baseball last season, but he was a second-rounder on average in the NFBC last March because of the 45 he posted in the SB column the year before and was a bit of a letdown at that acquisition cost. He was thrown out on the basepaths as many times as he was in 2018, in 25 fewer attempts. Perhaps because of his diminished efficiency, Merrifield's attempts were scaled back as the season wore on (20 attempts in the first half, 10 after the break). While Merrifield is relatively new to the scene, he's already going to be 31 on Opening Day and speed is usually the first skill to go as a player advances to this stage on the aging curve. The rest of the numbers look pretty safe given his bat-to-ball skills and expected volume, but if his SB chances are reduced further under new manager Mike Matheny, Merrifield will fall closer to the pack at second base. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $16.25 million contract extension with the Royals in January of 2019. Contract includes a $10.5 million team option ($750,000 buyout) for 2023.
Likely shifting to center field
2BKansas City Royals
December 19, 2019
Merrifield will likely take over as the Royals' primary center fielder in 2020, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The Royals signed Maikel Franco on Thursday, so Hunter Dozier is likely to transition to a role in right field with Merrifield taking over the duties in center field. The 30-year-old's defensive versatility will also likely allow him to shift to different positions during the season if injuries should occur.
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Batting Stats
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2019
2018
2017
2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Minor League Game Log
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
111
7
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
40
2
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
 
 
+10%
OPS vs LHP
2019
Even Split
2018
 
 
+26%
OPS vs LHP
2017
 
 
+3%
OPS vs LHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2017vs Left .859 536 91 18 55 35 .306 .354 .504
Since 2017vs Right .781 1536 182 29 157 64 .296 .345 .436
2019vs Left .814 208 34 8 28 10 .280 .327 .487
2019vs Right .810 527 71 8 46 10 .311 .357 .453
2018vs Left .945 197 34 5 15 18 .357 .406 .538
2018vs Right .750 510 54 7 45 27 .282 .352 .398
2017vs Left .800 131 23 5 12 7 .273 .321 .479
2017vs Right .780 499 57 14 66 27 .292 .325 .455
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
 
 
+5%
OPS at Home
2019
 
 
+4%
OPS on Road
2018
Even Split
2017
 
 
+25%
OPS at Home
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2017Home .821 1025 140 22 112 54 .305 .355 .466
Since 2017Away .782 1047 133 25 100 45 .292 .340 .442
2019Home .794 361 53 4 34 12 .307 .352 .442
2019Away .828 374 52 12 40 8 .298 .345 .483
2018Home .804 347 46 5 33 28 .307 .370 .434
2018Away .808 360 42 7 27 17 .300 .365 .443
2017Home .871 317 41 13 45 14 .300 .344 .528
2017Away .698 313 39 6 33 20 .276 .304 .394
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Stat Review
How does Whit Merrifield compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 400 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
BB/K
0.36
 
BB Rate
6.1%
 
K Rate
17.1%
 
BABIP
.350
 
ISO
.160
 
AVG
.302
 
OBP
.348
 
SLG
.463
 
OPS
.811
 
wOBA
.352
 
Exit Velocity
86.9 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
38.2%
 
Barrels/PA
2.6%
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Batted Ball Stats
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Stats Vs Upcoming Pitchers
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Whit Merrifield
Collette Calls: AL Central Bold Predictions
25 days ago
Jason Collette gazes into his AL Central crystal ball and sees more bad than good for Cleveland's Shane Bieber this year.
The Z Files: Is Average Exit Velocity on Groundballs Useful?
26 days ago
Todd Zola dives into the weeds on how the average exit velocity on groundballs impacts BABIP while also looking at other factors, such as the elite sprint speed of players like Trea Turner.
The Z Files: Top 50 Outfielders, Part Two
52 days ago
Todd Zola finishes his initial outfield rankings and finds a virtual dead heat at the top of the list, with Ronald Acuna Jr. one of the trio of studs in the mix for the No. 1 spot.
The Z Files: Top 20 Catcher and Infield Changes
68 days ago
Todd Zola uses a busy start to the Winter Meetings to make some adjustments to his catcher and infield rankings, with Yoan Moncada being one of the beneficiaries.
The Z Files: My Top 20 Second Basemen (Plus Two)
90 days ago
Todd Zola checks in with his initial rankings at the keystone and wonders how much longer Jose Altuve can remain among the elite at the position.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
Merrifield had plenty of skeptics after his out-of-nowhere 19-homer, 34-steal campaign in 2017, but the 30-year-old quieted his doubters and surpassed even the most optimistic projections. Though he noticed a minor power drop and a downturn in RBI largely fueled by the lack of talent flanking him, Merrifield improved by just about every other measure. Most of his value came from his .304 average and 45 stolen bases, with his production rendered more significant by the MLB-wide mean in both categories reaching their lowest levels since 1972. A .352 BABIP helped Merrifield uphold the lofty average, but he created some of his own good fortune by steadily raising his line-drive (29.8%) and hard-hit (36.9%) rates while posting a Statcast Sprint Speed that ranked in the 91st percentile. The team context around Merrifield won't be much better in 2019, but it may only further embolden manager Ned Yost to give him the green light to run.
Merrifield led the American League in stolen bases last season despite spending the first couple weeks in the minors, and he showed a surprising power stroke after hitting a mere two homers in 332 plate appearances in 2016. A dramatic leap in flyball rate -- from 29.8 percent to 40.5 percent -- and correction in his HR/FB (and likely a new baseball) fueled the power breakout, although the hard-hit data suggests Merrifield overachieved. Moreover, Merrifield hit 13 of his 19 homers at home, and Kauffman Stadium was the fourth-worst park for homers last season; simply put, he will have a hard time repeating that home-run output in 2018. He doesn't walk much at all, but Merrifield puts the ball in play consistently (14.0 percent strikeout rate), and that skill along with his speed should help Merrifield stick atop the Royals' batting order. Unfortunately, there will likely be a significantly worse team around him with so many of Kansas City's top players expected to leave via free agency this winter.
Merrifield was deceivingly solid last season, but his future prospects are dimmed by the reality that his performance was buoyed by a high batting average with little in the way of peripheral stats, including just a 5.7 percent walk rate and a .109 ISO. The 28-year-old is likely to be soft on upside, and a repeat of last year's half-season performance over a full campaign would be a success. Whether the Royals allow the Swiss Army knife to accumulate that much playing time is another issue altogether. Positional versatility might be the biggest feather in Merrifield's cap as well as his greatest utility to fantasy owners in 2017, as it not only allows for some roster flexibility, but it also gives him more opportunities for playing time. However, he's unlikely to be more than a placeholder for the Royals, or for fantasy owners in 2017.
More Fantasy News
Crosses home three times
2BKansas City Royals
September 17, 2019
Merrifield went 2-for-5 with three runs Monday in the Royals' 6-5 win over the Athletics.
ANALYSIS
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Extends hit streak to 11
2BKansas City Royals
August 29, 2019
Merrifield went 3-for-5 with two runs scored Thursday against the Athletics.
ANALYSIS
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Extends hitting streak
2BKansas City Royals
August 29, 2019
Merrifield went 2-for-3 with two runs in Wednesday's 6-4 win over the Athletics. He also reached base after being hit by a pitch.
ANALYSIS
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Records 15th homer
2BKansas City Royals
August 21, 2019
Merrifield went 1-for-4 with a solo home run Wednesday against the Orioles.
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Smacks inside-the-park homer
2BKansas City Royals
August 9, 2019
Merrifield went 1-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk Friday night against the Tigers.
ANALYSIS
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