TORONTO — Kansas City Royals star Whit Merrifield has been named to his first MLB All-Star Game, an honor that the 30-year-old second baseman has earned as one of the league’s top hit producers and leadoff men over the first half of the 2019 season.
Merrifield is hitting .301 with an .848 OPS after picking up two more hits on Sunday, which he did after learning of his selection just prior to the game. Manager Ned Yost gathered the team for a meeting to express the significance of the MLB All-Star Game, and Merrifield found out at the same time as his teammates.
Now that Merrifield is headed to one of baseball’s biggest stages, he has another opportunity to reflect on where he’s come from. Many of the American League teammates who he’ll share a locker room with were top picks or top prospects, but that wasn’t Merrifield’s path.
“Four years ago, where I was in 2015, to get to this point and to be selected as an All Star, there’s only a handful of people who were by my side in 2015,” Merrifield said. “It’s special to have gotten to this point, and I’m excited to celebrate with them in Cleveland.”
Back in 2015, the former ninth-round pick spent the full season in Triple-A, where he posted a .681 OPS as a 26-year-old. He held value as a utility man and would soon make his MLB debut in ‘16, but he’s exceeded all expectations by developing into an all-around All Star.
“The best part of his game is the whole game,” Yost said. “He doesn’t have a best part of the game. He’s a very, very productive Major League Baseball player. He can play any position adequately in the field. The only two I haven’t played him at have been pitcher and catcher. He’s a phenomenal offensive producer.”
Once Merrifield reaches Cleveland for the All-Star festivities and joins his teammates, he’s looking forward to getting to know the fellow stars from around the league and picking their brains.
“It’s the best players in the world and I can put my name in there now, which is kind of surreal,” Merrifield said.
The 2019 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will be played on Tuesday, July 9, at Progressive Field in Cleveland. It will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.