Whit Merrifield
Whit Merrifield
32-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
Kansas City Royals
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Two-hit Whit continues to be a steady producer for fantasy players. It says something when a .282 batting average is a hitter's career-worst effort as was the case for Merrifield in 2020. The low average is not due to him striking out because his 12.5 K% last season was a career-best. It is just that Merrifield puts a lot of balls into play with a high-contact and declining-walk-rate approach, so his batted-ball fortunes pull his average one way or the other. Both in 2017 and 2020, his hit rate was at league average and his batting average was in the .280s. In 2018 and 2019, he had more dying quails, duck snorts and seeing-eye singles which pushed his batting average north of .300. He is a threat to run any time he is on base, and he is seemingly on base twice a game. Models of statistical consistency and health like this are rare; roster with confidence that he continues his course. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#41
ADP
$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.
Doubles, steals base
2BKansas City Royals
May 9, 2021
Merrifield went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base in Sunday's 9-3 loss to the White Sox.
ANALYSIS
Merrifield doubled and came around to score the game's first run in the first inning. He then singled and swiped his league-leading 11th base of the season. The 32-year-old is slashing .271/.327/.419 this season and has a hit in eight of nine games to begin May.
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Batting Stats
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2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
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2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB 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
23
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
10
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2019
 
 
+5%
OPS vs LHP
2021
 
 
+34%
OPS vs LHP
2020
 
 
+4%
OPS vs LHP
2019
Even Split
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2019vs Left .825 302 48 11 37 19 .285 .341 .484
Since 2019vs Right .783 837 114 18 90 23 .298 .341 .442
2021vs Left .909 43 6 2 6 6 .297 .395 .514
2021vs Right .679 104 14 2 17 4 .261 .298 .380
2020vs Left .800 51 8 1 3 3 .298 .353 .447
2020vs Right .766 206 29 8 27 9 .280 .320 .446
2019vs Left .814 208 34 8 28 10 .280 .327 .487
2019vs Right .810 527 71 8 46 10 .311 .357 .453
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2019
 
 
+10%
OPS on Road
2021
 
 
+17%
OPS at Home
2020
 
 
+44%
OPS on Road
2019
 
 
+4%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2019Home .757 578 85 10 54 25 .288 .337 .420
Since 2019Away .833 565 78 19 73 17 .302 .345 .488
2021Home .792 89 14 3 12 6 .273 .337 .455
2021Away .676 58 6 1 11 4 .269 .310 .365
2020Home .633 128 18 3 8 7 .244 .297 .336
2020Away .913 133 20 6 22 5 .328 .361 .552
2019Home .794 361 53 4 34 12 .307 .352 .442
2019Away .828 374 52 12 40 8 .298 .345 .483
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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
0.80
 
BB Rate
8.2%
 
K Rate
10.2%
 
BABIP
.270
 
ISO
.147
 
AVG
.271
 
OBP
.327
 
SLG
.419
 
OPS
.745
 
wOBA
.322
 
Exit Velocity
82.5 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
31.1%
 
Barrels/PA
4.8%
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
Games By Position
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
Bernie on the Scene: More Outfielder Trade Targets
Yesterday
Bernie Pleskoff analyzes some enticing outfield trade targets, including Arizona's David Peralta.
DraftKings MLB: Tuesday Breakdown
7 days ago
Mike Barner previews Tuesday’s DraftKings slate, recommending a Mariners stack against Baltimore.
FanDuel MLB: Sunday Targets
16 days ago
Chris Morgan expects Trey Mancini to continue his power surge at home versus the A's.
FanDuel MLB: Tuesday Targets
21 days ago
Chris Bennett checks out Tuesday's slate as Vladimir Guerrero looks to keep raking in a clash with the Red Sox.
DraftKings MLB: Sunday Breakdown
23 days ago
Dan Marcus says not to be fooled by Robbie Ray's decent season debut and grab a few KC bats for today's matchup.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
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.
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
Swipes two bags
2BKansas City Royals
May 4, 2021
Merrifield went 1-for-2 with three walks, a pair of stolen bases and a run scored during Tuesday's loss to Cleveland.
ANALYSIS
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Belts fourth homer
2BKansas City Royals
May 3, 2021
Merrifield went 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run home run in Monday's 8-6 loss to Cleveland.
ANALYSIS
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Registers 15th RBI
2BKansas City Royals
April 26, 2021
Merrifield went 1-for-3 with an RBI in Monday's 3-2 win over the Tigers.
ANALYSIS
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Swipes two bags in win
2BKansas City Royals
April 25, 2021
Merrifield went 2-for-5 with a run, one RBI and two stolen bases in Sunday's 4-0 win over the Tigers.
ANALYSIS
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Posts stolen base
2BKansas City Royals
April 23, 2021
Merrifield went 2-for-5 with an RBI single, a stolen base and a run scored in Friday's 6-2 win over the Tigers.
ANALYSIS
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