Reds vs Royals: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 11: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on as Hunter Dozier #17 of the Kansas City Royals heads to the dugout . (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 11: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on as Hunter Dozier #17 of the Kansas City Royals heads to the dugout . (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds throws to first past Whit Merrifield
KANSAS CITY, MO – JUNE 12: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds throws to first past Whit Merrifield #15 of the Kansas City Royals (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Reds may have trouble with the Royals centerfielder

He may not produce the power numbers of Jorge Soler or receive the love bestowed upon Salvador Perez, but Whit Merrifield is an invaluable asset to the Kansas City Royals. When you look at the Royals leaderboard, you’ll see Merrifield’s name sprinkled all over it.

Entering play Monday night, he leads the team with 15 RBIs and is tied for top honors with five round-trippers. He ranks second with an impressive .358 on-base percentage. In addition, Merrifield only trails teammate Ryan McBroom with an outstanding .893 OPS and 139 OPS+ marks.

As fans in Kansas City could tell you this is nothing new. Merrifield has led the American League the past two seasons in hits while leading the junior circuit in stolen bases during the 2017 and 2018 campaigns. The 2019 All-Star also led the AL with 10 triples last year. Needless to say, the guy can play.

Merrifield is also a player that manager Mike Matheny can use all over the diamond. Since his debut as a 27-year-old in 2016, Whit Merrifield has logged more than 50 appearances at second base, center field and right field. Someone with his skill set and versatility is an absolute luxury.

Now at 31-years old, it should be interesting to see what the future hold for Merrifield. He signed a four-year deal before last year that will keep him in Kansas City through the 2022 season. The Royals also have a $10.5 million team option for the 2023 campaign. If any rivals entertain the thought of acquiring Merrifield, it’s going to take a haul to pry him out of Royal blue.