What a year it has been for Royals star Whit Merrifield. There hasn’t been many bright spots for the Kansas City Royals in 2018. Finishing the year with the second worst record in MLB, 58-104, only behind the lowly Orioles. Even Salvador Perez didn’t have a good year finishing with a team high in home runs with 27 and 80 RBI’s, but also batting .235/.274/.439. Pitching was atrocious besides Brad Keller, who only started 20 games but finished with a 3.08 ERA. Young second baseman Adalberto Mondesi had a monster second half producing a .276/.306/.498 slash line with 14 home runs and 32 steals through only 75 games. Easily solidifying his spot in the lineup in 2019.
Now we have the lone bright spot on a talent diminished team. In 2017, Merrifield had a true breakout season batting .288/.324/.460 with 32 doubles, six triples, 19 home runs, 78 RBI’s and a league leading 34 steals. In 2018 Merrifield one upped his 2017 performance by making history in the process. Merrifield lead the league in hits (192) and stolen bases (45), having a spot next to future hall-of-famer Ichiro Suzuki and the Mariners 2nd baseman/outfielder Dee Gordon as the only players to lead all of MLB in both categories. Not bad for a guy who was available in the rule 5 draft a few seasons ago, to which no one took the opportunity to claim this young star. Not only that, but Merrifield also ends the season on a career high 20 game hit streak. Leading the league by a whopping 9 games– next closest? Brock Holt at 11.
All in all, Merrifield ends his historic 2018 campaign by slashing .304/.367/438 while leading the league in hits and steals- 192 and 45– while adding 88 runs, 43 doubles, 12 home runs, 60 RBI’s While also playing five positions. It seems the Royals have a player to build around for the future. Better lock him up now.
ALSO: The Yankees young third baseman, Miguel Andujar, also snuck into the record books tying a rookie record set by Fred Lynn in 1975 for most doubles in a season by an American League rookie with 47. Congratulations young man. Fuck the Yankees still.