A name that continues to come up consistently when talking about the Toronto Blue Jays is Whit Merrifield. The 34-year-old veteran continues to be a hitting machine. In his last seven games, he has 12 hits, two home runs, five RBIs, and one stolen base. He has been a strong contributor to many of the Jays victories this season.
He has also become a fan favorite and there’s no surprise with the numbers he has been putting up. According to a Sportsnet stat on Twitter, his OPS has now reached .961 since the All-Star break thanks to a three-run homer in the July 28th game against the LA Angels. Let’s explore why Whit Merrifield is so crucial to the Jays lineup.
Whit Merrifield Continues to Impress Us
Hitting in the leadoff spot
i actually like whit merrifield in the lead off spot as he usually steals more bases than george springer.⚾️😃 https://t.co/9DjpXNdYWI
— ender wiggin (@enderwiggin0812) July 29, 2023
Since 2021 George Springer has been the leadoff man for the Jays. Springer’s bat hasn’t been hot lately, so putting Merrfield’s hot bat into the leadoff spot made the most sense and was a smart move. In fact, some believe that it’s been long overdue. He without question has earned that spot.
Evidently, his hot bat continued with three hits in the game and one of them being a home run his eighth of the season. Putting him in the leadoff spot paid off for the Jays as he gave the Jays an insurance run in the seventh inning of the game.
Putting up Impressive Stats
Whit Merrifield since July 4:
The Jays don't need to be going after Tim Anderson. pic.twitter.com/ClcqfDSETy
— Fungi Leonard (@KawhietMan) July 27, 2023
Merrifield is one of the few notable Jays players showcasing his resurgence. He is currently batting .305 with a .779 OPS. But the impressive stats don’t end there. In his last 19 games, he has 16 runs, six home runs, 17 RBI, a .394 average, and a 1.092 OPS.
With these quality numbers being put up all fans must be thinking is extend, pay, and keep Merrifield in Toronto. Merrifield also seems to really excel at hitting well in the ninth inning. Merrifield just continues to impress us with his stats.
Highest batting average in the 9th inning this season (min 30 PA):
.500 — Josh Jung
.379 — Shohei Ohtani
.375 — Christian Walker
.375 — Whit Merrifield
Gap between 1st and 2nd is larger than the gap between 2nd and 39th. pic.twitter.com/QD2uc63Hxu
— StatMuse MLB (@statmusemlb) July 23, 2023
He has really found his place in Toronto and is doing very well this season. He is already on his way to putting up better numbers than last season. In the 8-1 win over the LA Dodgers on July 26th, he showcased some powerful swings and had a busy night at the plate with two runs, two hits, a home run, and four RBIs. In addition, he got two hits and one RBI against the Angels in game two of the series. The Jays ended up winning 6-1 in that game on July 29th.
Strong Utility Player
Smooth slide by Whit Merrifield. 😏 pic.twitter.com/EVtfBqwHDc
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 23, 2023
This season we have seen a lot from Merrifield and he’s been a strong utility player for the Jays. He is good at running and stealing bases and this is something that makes him standout. The way he slid home and scored in the game on July 23rd against the Seattle Mariners was fun to watch. He made the slide into home look so easy and he did it smoothly.
What makes him an honorable utility player is the fact that he never misses games and is available to come in to pitch run and steal bases. His versatility in the outfield is one of his strong assets as a utility player. He is able to play multiple positions in the outfield which comes in handy. When he came to Toronto he embraced taking on the Veteran role and he has done well in this role. Overall, he has become a likable and well-respected player for the Jays.
It’s the Whit Show
whit merrifield appreciation post because he’s finally getting the respect he deserves😌🏻 pic.twitter.com/0ftaCAbHxt
— maddie (@maddiecholette) July 29, 2023
From home runs to power swings and stealing bases, Whit Merrifield has given us many reasons to smile. He continues to shine as the Jays Veteran and shows us how important he is to the Jays roster. He has found his home in Toronto and has given the Jays the opportunity to remain in a playoff spot with his consistent offense. He deserves to be admired, respected, and a fan favorite. What’s there not to like about the numbers that he has put up?
Main Image: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports