Whit Merrifield came to us in trade from the Royals, on August 2nd of last year. Max Castillo and Samad Taylor.
Max pitched in seven games for the Royals this year, throwing 20.1 innings with a 4.43 ERA. He made 21 starts for their Triple-A team, the Omaha Storm Chasers, putting up a 4.58 ERA.
Samad got into 31 games with the Royals, hitting .200/.279/.267. For the Storm Chasers, he hit .301/.418/.466 with 8 home runs and 43 steals in 89 games.
Merrifield wasn’t having a great 2022 season, hitting .240/.290/.352 in 95 games for the Royals and he didn’t start well with the Jays. In his first 71 PA he hit .182/.239/.227. But he turned it on for the last 18 games of the season, hitting .400/.424/.709. All in he hit .272/.323/.446 in 44 games with the Jays, helping the team make the playoffs.
So we wanted to see how Witt would do in a full season with the team.
Baseball Reference has him at a 0.8 bWAR. FanGraphs liked him more, with a 1.5 WAR, giving him a value of $12.4 Million to the Jays.
He had a .304 wOBA and a 93 wRC+.
Merrifield’s walk rate was 6.1% (down from 6.9 last year), and his strikeout rate was 17.1% (up from 15.5).
His line-drive rate was 22.2% (up a lot from his 19.7 last year), ground ball rate was 40.4% (down from last year’s 40.9), and fly-ball rate was 37.5% (down from 39.4 last year). His fly balls were leaving the park at 6.5% (right about his 6.6 last year).
Merrifield’s soft contact was up (17.3% from 15.7) and hard contact was about the same (25.4% from 25.1).
And his BABIP was up from last year (.313 from .276).
Whit hit lefties (.259/.299/.393) much the same as right-handers (277/.324/.379).
He hit much better on the road (.288/.331/.417) than at home (.255/.303/.344), which seems like a team-wide thing.
Whit was pretty good with RISP, hitting .296/.340/.467.
His first half (.286/.342/.392) was much better than his second half (.256/.286/.370).
Whit by month:
- April: .320/.377/.413 with 0 home runs, 7 walks, and 14 strikeouts in 21 games.
- May: ..267/.306/.362 with 2 home runs, 6 walks and 21 strikeouts in 28 games.
- June: .280/.356/.333 with 0 home runs, 9 walks and 17 strikeouts in 26 games.
- July: .356/.375/.622 with 7 home runs, 4 walks and 15 strikeouts in 23 games.
- August: .232/.250/.330 with 2 home runs, 3 walks and 20 strikeouts in 27 games.
- September: .181/.250/.222 with 0 home runs, 7 walks and 14 strikeouts in 20 games.
Merrifield’s a streak hitter, it seems.
Defensively, he played:
- 594 innings at LF. with 1 error, for a .992 FA. He had a 6.6 UZR/150 and a -3 Outs Above Average.
- 595 innings at 2B with 4 errors for a .984 FA. He had a -0.6 UZR/150 and a +4 Outs Above Average.
- 37 innings in RF with no errors.
He seemed an average fielder at second base and left field.
As a baserunner, FanGraph has him at a 1.0 runs above average. He stole 26 bases and was caught 10 times.
Where Whit hit in the batting order:
- 1st: 29 games, .250/.267/.386.
- 2nd: 6 games, .160/.222/.160.
- 4th: 4 games, .177/.211/.177.
- 5th: 19 games, .250/.317/.306.
- 6th: 45 games, .299/.339/.443.
- 7th: 25 games, .291/.357/.407.
- 8th: 11 games, .342/.400/.415.
The Jays were 79-66 in game he started.
His longest hitting steak was 19 games. Longest on-base steak was 22 games. Longest streak without a home run was 37 games.
His favourite team to face? He hit .333/.440/.714 in 6 games against the White Sox.
Least favourite? He hit .083/.148/.083 in 6 games against the A’s.
The team has an $18 million option on Merrifield, with a $500,000 buyout. I doubt they will pick it up. He turns 35 in January. But who knows?
If it were up to you, would you pick up Merrifield’s option?
This poll is closed
I don’t want to see him try to steal third base again as a Blue Jay.
He’s been a good player for several years now. In eight seasons, his lowest fWAR was 1.2, and he’s had four seasons of 3.0 and up.
In the ‘I hate when managers chase hot streaks category, the team moved him up in the lineup when he was hitting great and he wasn’t great after being moved. A .267 on-base percentage, while hitting leadoff isn’t good.
Before the season, we asked:
- If the over/under for Merrifield’s games played is 117 I’d take the...52% of us were right.
- Merrifield will spend most of his playing time as a...38% of us were right picking outfielder over second baseman.
- If the over/under on Merrifield’s OPS is .700 I’d take the.....Amazingly, Merrifield finished with exactly a .700 OPS.
- By September, Merrifield will be...36% were right saying ‘An everyday player’. He was an everyday player pretty much all season.
For his 2023 season, I’d grade Whit Merrifield an
This poll is closed