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Thursday, March 22, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: WHIT MERRIFIELD 2B KANSAS CITY ROYALS

If there were balloting to determine who would be the fantasy baseball MVP of spring training, Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield would have to be a front-runner to claim the fake prize.  After all, Merrifield has been arguably the most productive overall player when it comes to fantasy baseball-friendly numbers this spring, with the latest gem being a 3-for-4 performance Tuesday that included a home run.  That brought Merrifield's spring output to a ridiculous .465 average, 4 home runs, and 3 stolen bases; which is the type of monster five-category production usually reserved for first and second round talent in drafts this spring.  The bigger picture here perhaps is that Merrifield is already doing an exemplary job of showing that his 2017 breakout was no fluke and that he may be able to even better the numbers he put up last season:

.288
19 HR
78 RBI
80 R
34 SB

What always stood out about Merrifield's performance a year ago was the power and steals as his 19/34 split was beyond tremendous and extremely impactful in fantasy baseball terms.  The steals were not completely surprising though as Merrifield has blazing speed and was always a big stolen base guy during his minor league development.  Instead, the power was a surprise as Merrifield was never a bit home run hitter on the farm and so there were many wary eyes wondering if the 19 homers were legit and would carry over to 2018.  While it is a small spring sample size, Merrifeld so far is showing that number was in fact legit and that combined with his 30-steal speed, another big-time season could be in the offing.  It is entirely possible we are looking at a 20/40 campaign from Merrifield with a useful average this season and that output would cement him as one of the better five-category guys in the game.  While we won't fully jump on the bandwagon just yet, Merrifield is looking capable of more.  Kudos to those who bought in again.  


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