Padres: Wil Myers is beginning to catch fire at the perfect time

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 28: Outfielder Wil Myers #4 of the San Diego Padres jogs around the bases after hitting a home run against the Seattle Mariners at the Peoria Sports Complex on February 28, 2021 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 28: Outfielder Wil Myers #4 of the San Diego Padres jogs around the bases after hitting a home run against the Seattle Mariners at the Peoria Sports Complex on February 28, 2021 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /
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San Diego Padres slugger Wil Myers is turning heads this spring. The former Rookie of the Year, who is entering the second year of a six-year,$83 million extension, entered the weekend hitting .389 after a solid day on Thursday. His 2-for-2 day at the plate included his third home run of the spring, off Cleveland Indians starter Shane Bieber, the reigning AL Cy Young winner.

Fans can argue Myers’ hot start against the quality of pitching he so far has faced. It ranges somewhere between High-A and Double-A. However, matter-of-factly, it is great to see the just-turned 30-year-old taking a forward approach at the plate. So far, Myers has struck out just four times in 19 plate appearances.

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Padres: Building on a strong 2020 campaign

The truncated season proved fruitful for Myers. While many big names struggled, Myers trended in the complete opposite direction. His 154 wRC+ put him in a virtual tie in the top-15 in baseball with Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon, and his .606 slugging percentage put him in the top-10.

Thus far in spring games, Myers has been tattooing the ball. Of the data tracked through Statcast, courtesy of Baseball Savant, Myers has two of the hardest-hit balls  –  a 112.4 MPH groundout and a 108.9 MPH single. Both came in the same game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Of the seven hits in his 18 at-bats, Myers’ only extra-base hits have been his solo home runs. The rest are squared-up singles. For a guy who plays the game in an old-school manner and without batting gloves, it’s perfect symmetry. Nothing flashy, just doing his job.

The Padres must be excited as Myers continues to build on his strong 2020 campaign. A big year from Myers could elevate the Padres as one of the most dangerous teams in baseball. From 2015-18 Myers posted a slightly above-average 112 OPS+.

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Those four years were bookended by a 77 OPS+ season and a 96 OPS+ season while further bookended by his 131 OPS+ rookie year and last seasons 159 OPS+. A strange trajectory that Myers himself and Padres fans hope will continue upward this season. Right now, the sky is the limit.

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