This is Wil Myers’ breakout season. Or so we thought. At the halfway point of the season, and coming off a player-of-the-month-winning June, Myers became the first Padres All-Star in years that really seemed to belong at the midsummer classic.
But since the break, Myers’ inability to drive the baseball with any consistency is threatening to ruin what was to be the 25-year old’s coming out party.
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It was the first-half that we had hoped for when A.J. Preller traded away half the farm to obtain the high-ceiling but frequently injured outfielder. Of course, we hoped it would come last year, but getting All-Star production from any Padres position player was like finding a 10-gallon cooler full of Gatorade in the middle of the Sahara. Myers hit with authority. He hit homers. He hit doubles. He stole bases. He drew walks – well, more than Matt Kemp did, anyway. The left-fielder-turned-first-baseman was playing like a man who wanted to shake off the past two injury-affected years, and prove the kind of baseball player he really was.
His numbers at the All-Star Break were impressive. 19 homers. 19 doubles. 60 RBI. 15 steals. A.286/.351/.522 slash line. He managed that even while having a subpar May, in which he hit only .229 with two homers and nine RBI. He got off to a great start in April , and his June numbers were, in a word, gargantuan. He drove in 33 runs in in 26 games, and put up a monstrous 1.194 OPS that month. For reference, Miguel Cabrera’s best season OPS was 1.078, the year he hit .348 with 44 homers. Myers dwarfed that rate.
Maybe it was the Home Run Derby. A lot of hitters have gone into slumps after competing in their first Derby. And while Wil didn’t embarrass himself, hitting ten homers in the first round, his power numbers fell off a cliff afterwards. He connected in the first post-break game, but then went 18 games without a bomb. In 37 games since that first game back, he has managed to go deep only three times, hitting only .194 and driving in a meager 12 runs.
Maybe it was the team trading away every other player that wasn’t nailed down. Since the July 31 trading deadline, at which point James Shields, Fernando Rodney, Drew Pomeranz, Melvin Upton, Andrew Cashner , Colin Rea (briefly), and Matt Kemp had been traded, Myers has hit .225, while getting on base at a ghastly .296 rate. Certainly losing a quarter of the teammates he had started the season with could have had a negative effect.
Or maybe Myers’ half-season of success is like the second-half Chase Headley had in 2012, that is, the only really productive time in his career. We hope not, of course, but at this point, the all-star numbers we saw early in 2016 are the outlier in Myers’ young career.
See? I don’t want to think that way. I want to believe that Wil Myers will be the best player the Padres have had since Tony Gwynn. But this slump is making it tough…
Editors Note: This post came courtesy of Mark Whelan