Merrifield consistently hot: boosts average to .305

Published 1:11 pm Monday, July 31, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Whit Merrifield has become Toronto’s new leadoff man by simply being brilliant week after week after week.

On May 18 Merrifield was hitting .263. But then he got hot. From July 4-26, the 34-year-old veteran hit .373 (25 for 67) and hit safely in 14 of 17 games. In his first 19 games in July, he slashed .352/.377/.592 with five of his seven home runs and also had 14 runs and 16 RBIs in that span. In his first 17 July games, he delivered eight multi-hit efforts.

After spending all season in the bottom half of the order, Merrifield took over the leadoff spot on July 28. The three-time All-Star responded with three hits and his sixth homer in 17 games to help the Blue Jays beat the Angles 4-1.

Merrifield entered the week with a shiny .305 average. To put that number in perspective, the league average is .248 and only 11 players in all of Major League Baseball are hitting .300. His .305 mark is good for eighth place in the majors.

One more thing: Merrifield was hitting .253 with two strikes through July 28, ranking sixth in the majors in that category – and that was before he had two two-strike hits on July 29.

Merrifield’s sizzling bat has helped the Blue Jays hit their stride. They were a season-best 13 games above .500 (59-46) on July 29 thanks to 13 wins in 19 games.