ESPN Fantasy Projection: After stealing 79 bases over the previous two seasons combined, Merrifield was a popular choice to offer speed to a fantasy roster -- one with a solid batting average without totally sacrificing power. Unfortunately, that plan backfired as Merrifield was an inefficient 20-for-30 on the basepaths, falling well short of expectations. His sprint speed declined from the mid-90th percentile to the 86th, but that doesn't seem like enough to account for the drop. The poor success rate probably led to fewer opportunities, rendering doubt as to whether Merrifield will pick up the pace, especially since he's now 31 and likely to lose another step. Further, during new manager Mike Matheny's tenure with St. Louis, the Cardinals swiped the second-fewest bags in the league, though a good skipper should accentuate a player's strengths. While Merrifield's batted-balls skills remain intact, he should no longer be counted on to provide a bountiful foundation of steals for a fantasy roster.