Sometimes winning the Rookie of the Year Award doesn’t mean quite as much as it used to.
If you don’t want to ask Wil Myers about it, maybe you should ask 2004 winner Bobby Crosby, or 2003 winner Angel Berroa for that matter. Things didn’t quite turn out for them the way things did for say the Giants Buster Posey in 2010(3 World Series in 5 years) or 2012 AL Winner Mike Trout. Yet three years removed from his Rookie of the Year Award with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013, Wil Myers is having a very good season with the Padres in 2016.
Anthony Castrovince of SportsonEarth notes that Myers is one of several players who is “breaking out again” a few years into their career after initial hype and success. He argues they are just starting to really show what they can do at the Major League level.
He remarks that “Nobody this decade has demonstrated the difficulty of the response to the league’s adjustment to your initial success quite as well as Myers, who is a long way from his 2013 Rookie of the Year run and the inherent praise and expectations that came with it.”
The numbers seem to back up his analysis. After being promoted mid June in 2013 after being traded from the Royals for James Shields and Wade Davis, he went on to hit 13 home runs with 53 RBI in 88 games. Yet he saw a big drop off over the next two years also facing some nagging injury issues, hitting to a .235 BA in 550 at bats and only 14 home runs over those two seasons.
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The Padres wanted to move him to first base to help those injury issues, and so far the move has paid off. He has already hit 6 home runs in just 124 at-bats and his 31 games played. Last year he only hit 8 home runs and only made it into 60 games for the Padres, so he seems guaranteed to break those marks early.
He is hitting in the two spot at the moment for the Padres, and though his strikeout total of 33 to just 7 walks is concerning, with Matt Kemp producing behind him in the order and Jon Jay getting on base in front of him, it gives the Padres a consistency at the top of the order they have not had in some time.
Myers is driving the ball squarely better than he has to this point in the majors. His percentage of batted balls up the middle is 14% higher this year than his career norm, and in spacious Petco Park he is finding holes.
He has 6 doubles to go along with those 6 home runs this year and no doubt he would even have a couple extra home runs if he hit the same ball the same way in a different ballpark. The most exciting part is that he is still just 25 years old so rather than an older rookie who figures things out after a year or two he is figuring it out with still a lot of baseball left.