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Whit Merrifield 2022 Outlook


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Top 35 overall pick in most formats this year after a 40 SB showing last season. Re-structured his contract recently, so he'll be an important part of the upcoming renaissance and youth movement in K.C. He started out in RF yesterday, and he should find some ABs at 2B at some point, when Mondesi inevitably gets hurt. His SLG fell off the map last year, and his BA dropped about .20 points overall, so age is becoming a bit of a factor. I can understand those who viewed him as cost-prohibitive this year, when compared to a later option like Tommy Edman, but all in all he's still a solid bet to finish a top 50 overall player, and we know he'll be wearing Royal Blue for at least the next few seasons:

Royals signed INF/OF Whit Merrifield to a two-year, $10.25 million restructured contract with an $18 million mutual option for the 2024 season.

I looked at his Statcast, attempting to discern any patterns, but other than a 1.8% drop in launch angle, most of it fell in line with his norms. One of the oddest things I noticed was his park-adjusted HR totals. I don't think there's anything actionable from this, but its interesting to note that the metric suggests he would hit 23 HRs in HOU/CIN, 22 in Wrigley, 20 in Philly, 19 in CWS park, etc., and he actually only "should have" hit 7 HRs in KC. If I had to draw a conclusion, it would be that although Whit has enough power to hit 15+ HRs, he's realized that he's fighting it in Kaufman Stadium, and likely isn't trying to hit HRs in KC much anymore. Thus I'm hoping for a dozen HRs and happy with anything over that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This dude and Witt Jr. cost me the H2H Points win this week. Both have been abysmal so far. I don't want to be that guy and drop one or both, but it's getting hard not to when there are so many hitters available that are producing.

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Anyone selling at a discount or holding to see if he turns it around.  I am concerned with age and the downward trend in numbers over the last few years.  Would like to see who what others are thinking.

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I only have 1 share of him, but its in an AVG/OBP/SLG league so he is absolutely killing me right now.  I enjoy the SB help, but not at the expense of 3 other categories.  I halfway joked to a friend about dumping him, and he offered up Cronenworth... I'm considering it, but I think that's a little too low.

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Just now, MrPink83 said:

I only have 1 share of him, but its in an AVG/OBP/SLG league so he is absolutely killing me right now.  I enjoy the SB help, but not at the expense of 3 other categories.  I halfway joked to a friend about dumping him, and he offered up Cronenworth... I'm considering it, but I think that's a little too low.

Not worth it, I would just hold tight and at least wait for a hot streak. 

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46 minutes ago, RyanksN said:

Anyone selling at a discount or holding to see if he turns it around.  I am concerned with age and the downward trend in numbers over the last few years.  Would like to see who what others are thinking.

Sold in dynasty on Tuesday. Grabbed Espinal (TOR) as a replacement.

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I think everyone should relax a bit here. Its very early in the season, and steals come in bunches. There's also reason to be optimistic now that Mondesi is out for the season, as Whit gets to settle back into 2nd base. I heard a mention on the broadcast about just the difference in jogging in from RF vs. 2B to get back to the dugout after every inning being an adjustment for Whit. You might want to overreact to hearing that bit and think he just can't run anymore, but it is definitely something to latch onto in understanding what we've seen thus far.

Perhaps he had been holding something back for the warmer months of the year. Maybe its just spin on my part, but certainly the loss of Mondesi, while bad for the Royals overall, is actually a positive for the fantasy value of Whit, Witt Jr. and Nicky Lopez, who all get to play their best position and not slide over to accommodate Mondesi. I believe Merrifield will still give you the 30+ SBs you drafted him for, and get his BA back above .270 before the end of the year. Still, for someone who was a 4th round selection, it feels underwhelming. 2B on the whole is stronger than expected this season, and if you're covered for SBs elsewhere, I totally understand shopping him.

I will remind managers that if you did draft him as part of a proper team build-one where he is a primary speed option on a team that has enough HR/RBI power to make up elsewhere-then you really shouldn't be panic selling when the best is yet to come. Even a worst case scenario-.250 with 8 HRs and 25 SBs, lets say, still going to be useful in plenty of leagues. Turning a profit on his lofty ADP does seem unlikely. I have zero shares this year, FWIW, I was a little put off by his ADP, and I landed Tommy Edman 6 rounds later in multiple leagues. That's just how draft season goes, there's always a similar player at a lower cost (think DJ LeMahieu v. Ty France). I don't think Whit is a sunk cost, not yet anyway.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyone got any insight on what the heck is happening with Whit this year? Honestly having been keeping up much with Royals games this year.

Doesn't look like he's striking out much. Is he just not hitting the ball hard or just unlucky where the ball is being hit to?

Guys' averaged .290 BA, 10 HR and 30 SB over his past 5 seasons....no supremely bad slumps or down years in there. So I can't imagine that he suddenly has just fallen off the cliff.

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2 hours ago, CORTEz said:

Anyone got any insight on what the heck is happening with Whit this year? Honestly having been keeping up much with Royals games this year.

Doesn't look like he's striking out much. Is he just not hitting the ball hard or just unlucky where the ball is being hit to?

Guys' averaged .290 BA, 10 HR and 30 SB over his past 5 seasons....no supremely bad slumps or down years in there. So I can't imagine that he suddenly has just fallen off the cliff.

I haven't watched many Royals games, but Statcast suggests he's getting unlucky. His Expected Batting Average is .248. Even so, that would still be well down from his career AVG.

 

Anyway, another 0 for 4 today brings his line to .135/.177/.163. Just unfathomably awful.

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Never have I ever owned a share of White Merrifield.

 

Until this year.  This freaking year, is the only time I have had him on any team (except maybe some DFS lineups).

Go figure.

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Just now, MrPink83 said:

Never have I ever owned a share of White Merrifield.

 

Until this year.  This freaking year, is the only time I have had him on any team (except maybe some DFS lineups).

Go figure.

Absolutely the same. Wanted him for years. This year he fell to me in the draft. Was super stoked. And of course....this is the season where he ***** the bed.

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3 minutes ago, BradMaddox said:

Droppable?

I wouldn't...Merrifield has enough of a track record to show me that he'll come around. I admit this slump has been a terrible way to start of the season, and it's even a bit concerning, bit usually guys just don't forget completely how to hit. Have to believe sooner or later balls will start dropping in for hits, he will get on base, and he will run just as he always has.

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15 minutes ago, BradMaddox said:

Droppable?

I did and you should too. The longer we sit on guys in "slumps" that last an entire month the more it hurts. If your league is like mine there are almost always decent hitters going on hot streaks you can latch on to instead of waiting around, especially when the main appeal of Whit specifically is base stealing, which isn't happening. You might even get a player on a breakout year. 

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5 minutes ago, Theschill38 said:

I did and you should too. The longer we sit on guys in "slumps" that last an entire month the more it hurts. If your league is like mine there are almost always decent hitters going on hot streaks you can latch on to instead of waiting around, especially when the main appeal of Whit specifically is base stealing, which isn't happening. You might even get a player on a breakout year. 

Totally fair but tough to drop a low single-digit round pick. I’d at least test the waters. Someone traded him for Connor Joe in my league (with a draft pick swap). 

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The case for keeping Merrifield is simple: he can perform as a top 50-75 player ROS if he kicks it into gear. If you can afford to bench him, by all means, do so. If it turns to June and he still hasn't shown signs of life, cut him if you must.  Meanwhile, you should be trying to trade him at least for some workable piece to improve your team, if indeed you're ready to throw in the towel. Its format dependent as well; H2H if you are doing well overall you can carry some struggling guys for upside. In a roto league, if you're mid standings and sinking, you don't want to go down with the ship.

Smart managers will be strategic about which rosters they sell him to, i.e. a team that is speed needy or one that has too much already, so you benefit from the standings shift in that regard. Every season presents its challenges, and right now rostering some of the top MI guys-Merrifield, Story, Semien struggling so badly whilst waiver guys like Gimenez and Miller are going off is a tough pill to swallow. But its bad business to simply cut bait on a player with his track record at this point in time. 

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