Full Name is Whitley David Merrifield...Selected in the ninth round of the 2010 June Free Agent Draft...Graduated from Davie County High in Mocksville, N.C., 2007...batted .464 as a junior and .400 as a senior, earning allstate selections both years...attended the University of South Carolina...batted .326 as a freshman to earn SEC All-Freshman honors... batted .340 as a sophomore, playing in all 63 games...batted .321 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI as a junior, taking honors as the Earnest Brooks Co-Male Athlete of the Year...drove in the winning run with an 11th inning single as the Gamecocks captured the 2010 College World Series title in the tournament's final season at Rosenblatt Stadium...finished sixth in school history with 263 hits and fifth with 197 runs...Carolina League All-Star, 2011...tied for fourth in the Carolina League in runs, 2011...tied for seventh in doubles, tied for ninth in at-bats and ranked 10th in hits...2012 Wilmington Player of the Year...tied for seventh in the Carolina League in stolen bases, 2012...his mother, Kissy, was a five-time South Carolina state champion in tennis...she played collegiately at Wake Forest...his father, Bill, was a two-time ACC Player of the Year while at Wake Forest...he later played six years in the minor leagues ... Competed in the Japanese Game Show Sports Danshi Grand Prix during the 2017 offseason…show included several athletes from other sports, including Olympic Gold Medal sprinter, Justin Gatlin.
Spent majority of the year with the Royals, playing in 145 games, which included 131 starts at second base and 12 in the outfield (eight in right, four in left)...served as the Royals' leadoff hitter in 115 games ... Topped totals from his rookie year in nearly every offensive category, batting .288 (169-for-587) with 32 doubles, six triples, 19 homers, 80 runs scored and 78 RBI ... Led the American League with 34 stolen bases, becoming the first Royal to lead the league in steals since Johnny Damon (46) in 2000…his stolen base total ranked fourth in the Majors, behind Dee Gordon (60), Billy Hamilton (59) and Trea Turner (46) ... Became the third Royals player (fourth occurrence) with 30+ doubles, 30+ steals and at least 19 home runs in a season, joining Carlos Beltran (2001, 2002) and Amos Otis (1978) ... Hit 18 of his home runs as a second baseman, the most by a KC second sacker not named Frank White, who went deep 22 times in 1985 and 1986 ... Tied for third in the American League in triples and tied for fourth in infield hits (23) ... Led the American League with 94 hits after the All-Star break…it marked the most second-half hits by a Royal since Billy Butler (102) and Alex Gordon (98) in 2012 ... Collected 65 RBI out of the leadoff spot, ranking fourth in the Majors, behind only Colorado's Charlie Blackmon (103), Minnesota's Brian Dozier (93) and Houston's George Springer (84)…hit .321/.362/.509 (36-for-112) with runners in scoring position ... Hit .317/.366/.506 (57-for-180) with 11 doubles, four triples, five homers and 27 RBI with two outs ... Hit .321/.344/.476 (27-for-84) in Interleague games…his 27 hits vs. NL foes were tied for eighth-most among AL players ... Had a 19-game hitting streak (May 13-June 4), which tied for the longest in the American League in 2017 with Jose Altuve…it was also the longest by a Royal since Alex Gordon also hit in 19-straight in 2011 ... Hit three leadoff home runs - July 4 at Seattle (Felix Hernandez), July 25 at Detroit (Michael Fulmer) and Aug. 24 vs. Colorado (German Marquez)…became the seventh Royal (10th occurrence) to hit three or more leadoff homers in a season and first since Alex Gordon (4) in 2013 ... Recorded his first multi-homer game on July 23 vs. the White Sox, hitting solo shots off Derek Holland and Dan Jennings… became the first Royals second baseman with a multi-homer game since Alberto Callaspo on April 18, 2010 (at Minnesota) and the first KC leadoff hitter (any position) with a multihomer affair since Lorenzo Cain on September 7, 2012 (at White Sox) ... Became the 12th Royal (16th time) to homer in both games of a doubleheader, August 6 vs. Seattle…he and Salvador Perez (May 21 at Minnesota) both accomplished this during the 2017 season ... Set a career-high with five RBI on Aug. 13 at Guaranteed Rate Field, the most by a Royals leadoff hitter since David DeJesus also drove in five runs on June 15, 2008 vs. Arizona ... Finished one step away from hitting for the cycle twice - May 29 vs. Detroit (double, triple, homer) and Aug. 13 at Chicago White Sox (single, triple, homer) ... Recorded a career-high three steals on July 2 vs. Minnesota, becoming the first Royal with three thefts in a game since Lorenzo Cain on June 20, 2015 vs. Boston.
Played in 81 games, making 55 starts at second base, 11 in left field, three in right field, three at third base and one at first base…became the first Royal to start games at five different positions (none of them as the designated hitter) since Willie Bloomquist in 2010...Made his Major League debut on May 18 in the second game of a split doubleheader with the Red Sox and recorded his first career hit off David Price…had his contract selected on May 18, before being optioned to Omaha (AAA) on July 26…recalled on September 2...Among American League rookies who recorded at least 300 at-bats, tied for second in doubles (22), ranked third in batting average (.283) and on-base percentage (.323) and fourth in multi-hit games (27)...Set a Royals record by hitting safely in each of his first 11 starts…also hit in 30 of his first 35 games overall… since 2000, only two players have done better: Ichiro Suzuki (hit safely in 33 of his first 35 games in 2001 and David Dahl (hit safely in 32 of his first 35 games in 2016)...Recorded a hit in his first 18 career home games, the third-longest hitting streak at home to begin a career since 1913, trailing Rocco Baldelli (20 in 2003) and Albert Pujols (19 in 2001)...Had a hit and scored a run in 12 consecutive home games from May 27-June 18, matching Johnny Damon (2000) for the second-longest such streak in Royals history, trailing only Willie Wilson (16) in 1979...Batted .339 (39-for-115) over his first 27 games (May 18-June 18), 12th best in the American League during that span…hit just .189 (18-for-95) over his next 26 games (June 19-July 24)...Hit .351 (27-for-77) against left-handed pitching, third best in the AL (min. 80 plate appearances)...Batted .312 (59-for-189) in 49 games vs. AL Central foes…hit just .238 (29-for-122) outside of the division...Hit his first Major League home run on June 13 vs. Cleveland, and hit his second the next day, becoming the first Royals rookie to homer in back-to-back games since Mike Moustakas from September 16-17, 2011...Recorded a pair of hits and scored the winning run in the 11th inning on June 29 at St. Louis after entering as a pinch-hitter…became the first Royal with multiple hits in a game he didn't start since Jarrod Dyson on May 25, 2015 at Yankee Stadium...Led the Pacific Coast League in steals (16) prior to being selected on May 18.