Merrifield and Keller named Royals Player and Pitcher of August
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals named infielder Whit Merrifield and right-handed pitcher Brad Keller as the Royals Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively, for the month of August. The awards are determined by a local media vote.
Merrifield, who hit his first career walk-off home run in last night’s 5-4 win, had 39 hits in August, tied for second most in the Majors, two shy of Mitch Haniger. His .358 average ranked third in the American League behind Mallex Smith (.389) and J.D. Martinez (.373). He reached safely in 26 of 28 games, including each of the last 20 in August, a streak he added to last night to open September and match his career high. He also had six steals, tied for fifth most in the AL. Merrifield hit his 10th home run of the season on Aug. 26, becoming the fifth Royal (6th time) with back-to-back 10-HR, 20-SB seasons, joining: Carlos Beltrán (2001-03), Johnny Damon (1998-2000), Bo Jackson (1988-89) and Amos Otis (1970-72, ‘77-79). This is Merrifield’s second Royals Player of the Month Award and first since this June.
Keller led Royals pitchers in wins (3), innings (37.1) and ERA (2.89) in August, and held opponents to two runs or fewer in five of six starts. He was a 9-2 winner over Baltimore on Friday night, matching a career high with 8.0 innings and lowering his season ERA to 3.26, best among American League rookies (min. 100 IP). This is Keller’s second Royals Pitcher of the Month Award (also winning in June), making him the first Royals rookie to earn the honor twice in one season since Brian Bannister won it in June, July and August of 2007.