The San Diego Padres made the decision to move Wil Myers to third base a few weeks ago. How has that experiment been going?
Wil Myers is the San Diego Padres latest attempt to find a serviceable third baseman, with the likes of Christian Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg failing to claim the position as theirs this season and any worthy third base prospects still two-three years away from being MLB-ready.
Myers came to the Padres, along with Jose Castillo during the 2014 off-season as part of a three-team trade between the Padres, Washington Nationals, and Tampa Bay Rays. Since starting in center field on Opening Day of 2015, Myers has played five different positions over the years. In 2015 he played center field, 2016 he earned his first All-Star nomination while manning first base, and in 2017 he played first base, as well. However, after the Padres signed Eric Hosmer, he played both left field, right field, and third base in 2018.
Myers has always been one of the most athletic and versatile players the Padres have had on their 25-man roster, while healthy. But staying healthy has always been a problem for Myers. Since his latest stint on the DL, he has played exclusively at third base and has looked confident at the position. (Note: Of course as I’m writing this, Myers committed three errors during tonight’s game)
Over the course of his 13 games at third, Myers has had 45 balls hit to him and has committed five errors, including three during Thursday night’s game. That comes out to a .888 fielding percentage, while league average, according to Baseball Reference, is .966. The preliminary results have been up and down but we need to remember that this is the fourth position for Myers in the past three seasons. Fans need to be patient with Myers and let him adapt to the new position, and last night is part of those growing pains he will experience at third.
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With how well he adapted to first base during the 2016 season, I believe Myers will eventually become a solid and dependable third baseman if given the time and patience to thrive and become familiar with the position.
Clearing up the logjam in the outfield.
One advantage of moving Myers to third has been increased playing time for the likes of Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Travis Jankowski, and Franmil Reyes. All four have excelled during the month of August, but Renfroe and Reyes have especially impressed.
While Jankowski looks to have solidified his role as an occasional starter and strong fourth outfielder, Manuel Margot appears to remain as the center fielder of the present and future. Reyes and Renfroe, on the other hand, have been battling for a corner outfield spot. Over the course of August, Renfroe mashed 10 home runs, had 27 RBIs, and hit .287. Most impressively, he has shown increased plate discipline, increasing both his walk rate and lowering his strikeout rate.
Reyes has also had a strong month of August, with a slash line of .282/.366/.577. He has six home runs but only eight RBIs due to the inability of the Padres to produce baserunners. One of these six came Thursday night, an absolute moonshot that carried the Padres to a walk-off victory in 13 innings over the Rockies.
Without moving Myers to third, Renfroe and Reyes may not have been given the at-bats they needed in order to thrive this month. By moving to third, Myers is helping the team figure out what they have in guys like Jankowski, Renfroe, and Reyes.
So far, the results of the Wil Myers experiment have been mixed, but if he is given the time and patience to succeed at the position, I believe he will eventually become a more than serviceable third baseman for the San Diego Padres.
Fun Fact: The Padres are 3-0 since promoting Luis Urias from Triple-A. Just saying…