The Jobu’s Rum Rookie Spotlight Series is back. This time, Jobu takes a look at someone we profiled last year, Tampa Bay’s Wil Myers.
When we profiled Wil Myers last August, it was to make the point that he had no business still being in the minor leagues for the Kansas City Royals. The guy was just crushing the ball, and had 33 home runs at the time of our article. A lot has changed since then, and Myers is set up to make a huge impact in the American League East in 2013.
First of all, you’ll notice that Myers is no longer the best hitting prospect in the Royals organization. He’s now the best hitting prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. How did that happen? Because of a shortsighted trade pulled off this winter. The Rays sent “Big Game” James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City, for Myers, top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard.. While this deal is a fantastic one for the Rays, the Royals will one day be kicking themselves for it for years to come. While Shields and Davis will definitely strengthen their rotation, the trade won’t make their team good enough to win in the next two years (after which Shields becomes a free agent and will, undoubtedly, cash in). I think the Royals were better off keeping Myers and teaming him with guys like Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer to create a more solid offense for the next 15 years instead. Or, they could have Traded Myers for a young pitcher with many more years of team control left on his contract.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. What is here, and there, is that Myers should be the opening day designated hitter for the Rays this year. If he’s not, then there’s a problem. Last year, while splitting time in AA and AAA, Myers hit .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI. You know what the Rays DH hit last year? Luke Scott got the majority of the DH ABs, and he turned in a stellar campaign. Wait, stellar doesn’t mean crappy? My bad. Scott hit .229/.285/.429 with 14 homers and 55 RBI in 96 games. I mean I know we all love Luke Scott, aka the very poor man’s Nick Swisher, but come on now. Things got so bad for the Rays and their DH situation last season that they signed Hideki Matsui halfway through the year. Matsui homered in his first game back, but ended up hitting .147 in 34 games and retired this offseason.
Myers, by all accounts, could be very much the real deal at the plate. He’s not exactly tearing the cover off the ball this spring, but neither are a lot of guys. The kid has proven that he’s all set with AAA. It’s time to let him loose on major league pitching. He might end up with over 150+ Ks this year (his minor league K numbers are the only thing i really don’t like about him), but a Rookie of the Year award and 30 home runs will make it OK.
From what I’m reading, the Rays aren’t fully sold on Myers being ready for opening day. They don’t want to rush the 22-year old slugger. Instead, they want him to work on a more disciplined plate approach. Also, the Rays have always been very careful about managing their young players’ service time. On Saturday, they officially sent him down to their minor league camp. Unless Luke Scott’s stupid beard somehow injures him, Myers will most likely play in AAA for a month or two. When he’s finally ready, the Rays will call him up, and the American League East will be in trouble.
Featured image courtesy of: Pouya Dianat/SI
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