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Whit Merrifield 2020 Outlook

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6 minutes ago, KingJoffrey said:

Underrated player.  I just wonder why his stolen bases went down so much in 2019.  Was he playing injured for a time? Was it due to some increased power from DoZier or Soler batting behind him?

Also if he gets traded, where could he end up?


Age.  People just don't run as fast as they did in their twenties.

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I think it’s safe to plan for 20 bags and be happy with that. I obviously hope for more and wouldn’t be shocked if he reached 30 again but if he can give you 20 sb to go with 15 HR, around 90 runs and a good average I’ll be happy. He’s still a bit of an underrated player.

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Like most who’ve been considering drafting Merrifield this season, my biggest drawback has been the questions surrounding his sudden drop-off in SBs. Is it entirely age-related? Was there some injury that was kept quiet in order to keep pitchers worried about him on the base paths?

Well, after doing some digging, I think I may have found the answer. 

According to this article from late last season, it appears Merrifield’s reduction in steals was actually a conscious decision:

The explanation, Merrifield said, is that he is just being smart about his situation now.

“I was a lot more aggressive early in the year,” Merrifield said. “And then as we sort of fell out of contention, I made the conscious decision to sort of take it easy on my body, and just pick and choose when to take chances.

“It would be different if we were in the playoff hunt right now. I’d be a lot more aggressive to take advantage of stealing. But I’m using this time to sort of keep my legs under me, and also to keep the keys I have on pitchers a secret, and the tips I’ve gotten a secret, to save them when they’re more beneficial.”

Merrifield said stealing bases takes a much higher toll on a player’s body than people think.

“I don’t want to say it was a business decision, but it was just a conscious decision to take it easy on my legs,” he said. “Stolen bases are one of the most dangerous things you can do to your body on the baseball field, slamming into the bag, hamstrings. It’s why I wear the [oven] glove. There’s a lot that can go wrong.


So take from that what you will. Maybe he bounces back a bit in the SB department. Maybe he gets traded to a contender and none of this matters. But considering what we know now, coupled with the fact that Mike Matheny is now his manager (🤢), I’m having a harder time seeing him returning to that 30 range as some (including myself) have been hopeful of.

Edited by crafty
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  • 1 month later...

Heading into 2020 I figured there was a 100% chance he would get traded during the season. As an AL only league player, that dropped him way down on my board. Now that COVID-19 has disrupted everything, what do people think the trading scenario in MLB will be like when/if they start the season? Will teams shy away from trying to acquire guys like Whit if they only get them for a fraction of the games they would during a full 162 game shedule?

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I love Whit, and own him currently in a keeper, but really considering throwing him back this year for a younger, less proven player.  Primarily, I think that much of Whit's value is tied to his steals, and in a shortened season, I can't see a 30+ year old running quite as often.  Matheny is also notorious for holding guys on the base paths.  Whit is a very good player, but he may be a little overrated right now.  There is a massive difference in value between 15/30 and 15/20.  An even bigger difference when you drop down to 15/10 which he is probably only a year or two away from doing. 

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On 4/9/2020 at 11:37 AM, 2ndCitySox said:

And this is why I think he's actually overrated. 

This. He’s not a power guy, so his value is entirely in BA, runs and SB’s. If his SB’s drop further it’s going to drastically hurt his value.

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