What's on second? Inside the Royals position battle
Who is on first? What is on second? I do not know is on third. The Royals have two of those three positions figured out, the lone question mark: What is on second?
The Kanas City Royals report to spring training on Monday, February 13th with still a few questions to be answered prior to opening day, on April 3rd. One of those questions that needs an answer is: Who will win the starting second base gig? A list comprised of Whit Merrifield, Christian Colon, Raul Mondesi, and, surprisingly enough to some who have not kept up with Kansas City through out the offseason, Cheslor Cuthbert.
This is as wide-open as a competition that you can have. Seemingly no one player ahead of the other heading into Spring Training.
Christian Colon was drafted with the fourth pick in the 2010 MLB draft by the Kanas City Royals. Since that day, albeit without consistent everyday at bats at the Major League level, Colon has been a key part of two of the greatest plays in Royals history. Coming home to score the winning run in the 2014 AL Wild Card game to finish off the Oakland A's and spark a magical unforgettable run, and driving home the go-ahead run in game five of the World Series in 2015. Playing in a career-high 54-games a season ago the 27-year-old hit for a .231-average, had a .294-On-Base-Percentage, with 13-RBI's, and a homer. Fielding the second base position, Colon had 139-chances that lead to 0-errors leaving him with an obvious, 1.000-fielding-percentage at second base. Christian Colon also logged time at third base, and short stop.
Whit Merrifield was a fan-favorite, and took Kansas City by storm when he made his Major League debut last season. Getting two hits per night, he found himself with the nickname two-hit-Whit. Signs with phrases like "Holy Whit!" starting popping up around Kauffman stadium. Like Colon, Merrifield was drafted in 2010, and is no stranger to the big stage. When in college, at the University of South Carolina, Merrifield hit a walk-off base hit to capture the gamecocks a national title. Whit Merrifield saw 81-games of action in his debut season. Merrifield had a .323-On-Base-Percentage to go along with his .284-batting-average. Whit drove in 29-runs, collecting a pair of homeruns, and capturing 22-doubles. Whit Merrifield plays all over the field, logging time in the corner outfield spots, first base, third base, and of course, second base. Whit Merrifield committed 4-errors at the second base position, while having another error charged to him while manning third. At second base, the 28-year-old posted a .984-fielding-percentage.
Another very interesting name thrown in to the preverbal ring, is Cheslor Cuthbert. Cuthbert was called on last season to anchor the third base position when Mike Moustakas suffered a torn ACL. Cuthbert played in 128-games hitting .274, with a .318-OBP. At the hot-corner, Cuthbert committed 16-errors having a .948-fielding percentage. Cheslor Cuthbert spent the beginning of the offseason in Arizona participating in fall leagues working on the second base position.
Raul Mondesi will have a fighting chance to take over the job for good in 2017. Playing in 47-games in the 2016 season Mondesi was horrendous at the plate going for a .185-average. Mondesi posted a .987-fielding-percentage at the second base position. Normally a short-stop, Mondesi logged most his time at second base in the majors. A polished fielder who can not hit a lick. If the Royals are smart, they will start Mondesi at AAA, allowing him to get everyday at bats and try to improve at the plate. Raul Mondesi has a lot of room to grow as he is just 21-years-old.
Royals fans are in for an interesting spring keeping up with this position battle. I would expect Whit Merrifield to break camp as the starting second baseman and hopefully not look back as Kansas City needs to gain consistency at that position.