The 2013 off-season featured a lot of prospects changing hands, mostly coming from the Toronto Blue Jays. There was a big trade, however, between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Kansas City Royals that got a lot of press. The 22-year-old Wil Myers was traded on December 9, along with Mike Montgomery (who’s currently in the Arizona League), Patrick Leonard and Jake Odorizzi for a player to be named later (Elliot Johnson), Wade Davis and, of course, James Shields.
Myers came into the season ranked the #4 prospect by Baseball America, MLB.com and Fangraphs and the #7 prospect by Baseball Prospectus. Unlike some of the other prospects I’ve written about here, Myers wasn’t a first round pick. Drafted in the third round in 2009 by Kansas City, Myers impressed right from the beginning. He dominated the Pioneer League as an 18 year old and put up a combined .936 OPS between two levels of A-ball as a 19 year old in 2010. In 2011, his numbers took a step back a bit in Double-A but he responded with a vengeance, lighting up stadiums for a combined 37 home runs and a .987 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A.
While some thought he might open the season with the Rays, Tampa Bay is pretty patient with their prospects and Myers had solid numbers in Triple-A Durham before finally getting the call to the big leagues on June 18. In the majors, Myers didn’t disappoint, putting up Rookie of the Year quality numbers, hitting .293/.354/.478. In 373 plate appearances, Myers hit 13 home runs and 23 doubles, giving him very solid counting stats even if he was playing with the big club all year.
The one area of weakness for Myers, that was exploited to great effect by the Rays’ opponents in the playoffs, is his tendency to strikeout. While he’s maintained a decent walk rate, even at the major league level (8.8% in 2013), his strikeout rate has consistently risen throughout his ascent through the minor leagues, culminating with a 24.4% mark in the majors which swelled to 33.3% in the playoffs in which he hit only .100/.143/.100 in 21 plate appearances. Looking at his zone chart at Brooks Baseball, pitchers kept the ball mostly down and away from Myers in the playoffs and he’s going to have to learn how to get better pitches to hit in 2014.
Wil Myers graduated to the major leagues in 2013 and lived up to expectations. Like most rookies, he need to adjust a little bit before true superstardom comes his way, but he’s definitely gotten off to a great start.