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Wil Myers

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William Bradford Myers

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[edit] Biographical Information

Wil Myers was the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year.

Myers was picked by the Kansas City Royals in the third round of the 2009 amateur draft as a high school catcher; he had hit .532 with 14 home runs as a senior. He was the Royals' second pick that year, following Aaron Crow. The scout was Steve Connelly. Though he was the #91 pick, signed for a $2 million bonus, higher than all but one other pick from #s 21-100 (Slade Heathcott was the only one with a higher bonus in that range). Myers had a fine pro debut, hitting .426/.488/.735 with 18 runs in 18 games for the Idaho Falls Chukars but only going 2 for 16 (albeit with a triple and homer) for the Burlington Royals. The lone drawback was 6 passed balls in 11 games behind the plate. Baseball America rated him as the top prospect in the Pioneer League, beating out first-rounders such as Jake Odorizzi and Garrett Richards.

Wil split 2010 between Burlington (.289/.408/.500, 48 BB in 68 G) and the Wilmington Blue Rocks (.346/.453/.512 in 58 G). Overall, he had 37 doubles, 85 walks and 83 RBI. He had 20 passed balls while throwing out 32% of attempted base-stealers. Myers was second in the Royals chain in walks behind Kila Ka'aihue and was fourth in doubles. He also led the Carolina League with 17 passed balls. Baseball America continued to rank him as one of the game's top prospects: #3 in the Royals chain (after Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas), #3 in the Midwest League (behind Mike Trout and Shelby Miller), #4 in the Carolina League (trailing Julio Teheran and teammates Hosmer and John Lamb) and #10 in all of minor league baseball.

Myers struggled in 2011, moving to the outfield and battling a knee laceration that later became infected. He hit .254/.353/.393 in 99 games, drawing 52 walks and making 7 errors. In the 2011 Futures Game, he started in right field and batted 8th for the USA in a 6-4 win over the World. Against Liam Hendriks in the second, he grounded in Devin Mesoraco for a 2-0 US lead. He grounded into a double play against Martin Perez in the 5th, erasing James Darnell. He struck out facing Arodys Vizcaino in the 7th. That fall, he played for the Surprise Saguaros and hit .360/.481/.674 with 20 walks and 24 runs in 23 games. He was second in the Arizona Fall League in OBP (behind Jedd Gyorko), third in slugging (after Mike Olt and Gyorko), third in OPS and tied with Robbie Grossman for first in walks. Baseball America downgraded him to the #13 prospect in the Texas League (between Tim Wheeler and Zack Cox) and #28 in all of baseball while remaining third in the Royals chain (after Mike Montgomery and Bubba Starling).

Myers erased the doubts of his 2011 performance in 2012. He hit .343/.414/.731 with 13 home runs, 32 runs and 30 RBI in 35 games for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Promoted to the Omaha Storm Chasers, he was at .310/.397/.626 with 15 dingers and 46 RBI after 42 games. He then starred on the All-Star circuit. In the 2011 Futures Game, he again started in right for the US, this time hitting third. During a 17-5 rout, he did his share of the damage, tying Nick Castellanos for the team lead with 3 RBI. In the 1st, he grounded out against Yordano Ventura. He drove in Kolten Wong with a ground out in the bottom of the 3rd, facing Chris Reed, to tie the score at four. In the 5th, he singled against Enny Romero. That inning, he moved to center field when Christian Yelich entered as a new right fielder and CF Anthony Gose left. He drove in Manny Machado with a sacrifice fly in the 6th. An inning later, facing Julio Rodriguez, he singled again to drive in Scooter Gennett, later scoring on an error by Chih-Fang Pan. He did not get the Larry Doby Award as MVP; that went to Castellanos. Three days later, he appeared in the 2012 AAA All-Star Game, batting 6th and manning left field for the Pacific Coast League in a 3-0 win. In the 1st, facing Tyler Cloyd, he singled in Jake Elmore to make it 2-0. He doubled off former NL All-Star Zach Duke to open the 4th, then scored on a double by Tim Federowicz for the game's final run. He flew out against Rudy Owens in the 5th, then left in the bottom of the 6th when Daniel Robertson replaced him in center and Joey Butler took his lineup spot. Myers was named the PCL's Star of Stars for the day (Matt Harvey got the award for the losing side). At the end of the season, he was named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year, having completed his season at Omaha with 24 homers, a .304 batting average and 79 RBI in 99 games in AAA. His combined 37 homers ranked second in all of the minor leagues, behind Darin Ruf.

Putting the present ahead of the future, the Royals dealt Myers away that winter (along with Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard), dealing them to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis on December 9, 2012. He started the 2013 season back in the minors, with the AAA Durham Bulls. He struggled a bit at first, accumulating 71 strikeouts in his first 64 games, but also displayed good power, hitting 14 homers and batting .283/.356/.620 with 57 RBI (most in the 2013 International League at that point) when he was called up to the Show on June 17th, replacing Ryan Roberts on the roster. In his last 23 games for Durham before the call-up, he had hit .354 with 10 homers. he made his debut starting in right field for the Rays in the first game of a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox on June 18th, but went 0 for 4. Hitting sixth, he flew out against Alfredo Aceves in his first at-bat. He also started the second game and got his first major league hit in the 2nd inning, a single off Felix Doubront. He finished the day 1 for 7 with a pair of strikeouts. He hit his first major league home run on June 22nd, a grand slam off CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees at New Yankee Stadium. The Yankees had elected to walk Evan Longoria intentionally to load the bases ahead of Myers, but he made them pay by driving a pitch to right center; it bounced off the top of the wall, just inches away from the grasp of CF Brett Gardner. On June 24th, he was one of three consecutive Rays players to hit home runs off the Toronto Blue Jays' Esmil Rogers in the 2nd inning, sandwiched between shots by James Loney and Sam Fuld; it was his first career at-bat at home, and helped the Rays to a 4-1 win that snapped an 11-game winning streak by the Jays. It was only the second time in their history that the Rays at hit three consecutive homers, and the first time they had done it at home. On September 20th, he became the first batter in Tampa Bay history to go 0 for 8 in a game when he was shut down by the Baltimore Orioles in an 18-inning marathon. He finished the season with a .293/.354/.478 batting line in the majors with 23 doubles, 13 home runs, 50 runs and 53 RBI in 88 games for a 132 OPS+. He slumped to 2-for-20 in the 2013 Postseason but still won the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Award. He had 23 first-place votes, compared to 5 for José Iglesias and one apiece for teammate Chris Archer and Dan Straily.

As he was approaching the first anniversary of his major league debut, Myers was starting to develop a reputation as a Yankees killer. When he hit an inside-the-park homer and drove in four runs against the Yankees in a 5-1 win on May 4th, it was his 7th big league homer against the team in pinstripes; he had hit 10 against all other teams combined. He began to be bothered by pain in his wrist after colliding with teammate Desmond Jennings in the outfield on May 30th, and on June 3rd he was diagnosed with a stress fracture, putting him on the shelf for a minimum of six weeks. He was hitting .227 with 5 homers and 25 RBIs at the time of the injury and only returned to the line-up on August 20th.

[edit] Notable Achievements


AL Rookie of the Year
2012 2013 2014
Mike Trout Wil Myers TBA

[edit] Sources

[edit] Further Reading

  • Adam Berry: "Myers runs away with AL Rookie of the Year Award", mlb.com, November 11, 2013. [1]

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