Wil Myers

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William Bradford Myers

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Biographical Information[edit]

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 Dan 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. He managed to stay in the line-up for the rest of the season, but his final numbers were disappointing, with a .222 average in 87 games, 6 homers and 35 RBI. The Rays went through a complete overhaul after the season, changing their GM and manager and most of their starting line-up, and Myers was one of the players who moved on. On December 17th, he and C Ryan Hanigan were the two biggest names in a three-team trade that saw the pair move to the San Diego Padres, with the Rays picking up five players in return, two of which were then flipped to the Washington Nationals for a couple more youngsters.

His first season with the Padres in 2015 was a major disappointment as injuries limited him to 60 games during which he hit .253 with 8 homers and 29 RBIs. In spite of the underwhelming numbers, he still managed a very solid OPS+ of 112, a nice turnaround after his wretched 2014 season. Myers was the National League Player of the Month in June of 2016 when he experienced a tremendous power outburst hitting 10 doubles and 11 homers to go along with a .327 average; he scored 25 runs and drove in 33 while also managing to draw 19 walks in 26 games. He had started the season on a good note, hitting .302 with 5 homers in April before cooling down in May. He had already set a career high for homers in a season by the middle of June, and one for RBIs by the end of the month. As a result, he was named to the All-Star team for the first time. On July 31st, he stole home on a very smart play; Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds had just walked Jabari Blash to load the bases, and not pleased at the call, had walked off the mound with the ball to mull things over. Wil realized that Bailey had failed to call time, and took advantage of the fact he had his back turned and was paying him absolutely no attention to simply walk over to the plate and score uncontested. He ended the year with a .259 average in 157 games, with 29 doubles and 28 homers, 99 runs scored and 94 RBIs. Apart from the fact he was healthy all year, it was not a huge rise in his production, as his OPS+ was 113, almost the same as the previous, abbreviated season. That steady production convinced the Padres that he was a key part of the team's future and on January 17, 2017, they signed Wil to a six-year contract extension worth $83 million.

On April 10, 2017, Myers hit for the cycle in a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. He singled in the 1st, doubled in the 3rd, homered in the 6th and completed the feat with a triple in the 8th. He was only the second player in team history to accomplish the feat, after Matt Kemp on August 14, 2015, also at Coors Field. On August 16th, he pulled off an even rarer feat in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, when he stole three bases in the same inning. In the 4th inning, he singled off Nick Pivetta with two outs, driving in Carlos Asuaje from second base with the game's first run. He stole second base, then after a walk to Austin Hedges stole third base as well. The pair then pulled off a successful double steal, with Myers stealing home for the second run. He was the first player to steal three bases in one inning since Dee Gordon with the 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers, and only the second in the last 20 years (Jayson Werth had been the other, in 2009). San Diego went on to win the game, 3-0. He hit .243 but with a career-high 30 homers and 74 RBIs in 155 games.

Just as spring training was beginning in 2018, however, Myers learned that he was going to change positions again, as the Padres agreed to an eight-year deal worth $144 million with free agent 1B Eric Hosmer. It was not a complete surprise, as the Padres had been negotiating with Hosmer for months. As one of the best fielding first sackers around, it was clear that Hosmer would get to play the position. On July 7th, he hit three home runs in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks; unfortunately, it was for naught, as the Padres were crushed 20-5 that day. He homered again the following day, however, and this time it came in the 16th inning of a marathon game against the D-Backs, with back-up C Jeff Mathis on the mound after catching the first 15 innings! It gave San Diego a 4-3 win. After a brief stint on the disabled list in early August, he returned on August 14th to play a new position: third base. In his first start ever at the hot corner, he recorded one out and 8 assists, one shy of the franchise record for the position set by Kevin Kouzmanoff in 2008. He had only played an inning there before that game, back in 2016. He ended up playing 36 games at third, and for the year hit .253 in 83 games with 11 homers and 39 homers.

With the Padres signing free agent Manny Machado to play third base before the 2019 season, Wil was back in the outfield that year, playing both left and center field. On May 25th, he had a great game as the Padres tied a team record by banging 7 homers in a 19-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. He reached base in all six of his plate appearances, while officially going 2 for 2, with both hits being homers. In his other plate appearances, he drew three walks and was hit by a pitch. However, he hit just .239 in 155 games, his lowest batting average since his sophomore season in 2014, with 18 homers and 53 RBIs. His OPS+ fell to 97, his first time below 100 again since 2014. He bounced back during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season as he batted .288 in 55 games, with 15 homers and 53 RBIs. His OP+ bounced back all the way to 160, easily the best of his career, and he received MVP consideration for the first time, finishing 16th in the voting. The Padres made it into the expanded postseason, and he had a great game in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on October 1st when he and Fernando Tatis Jr. both homered twice in an 11-9 win, becoming the first pair of teammates to do so in a postseason game since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. He went 4 for 12 in the series, but was limited to 1 hit in 10 at-bats as the Padres were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series.

In 2021, the Padres collapsed completely in the second half after holding their own with the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants until the All-Star break. He had a good but not great season, batting .256 in 146 games with 17 homers and 63 RBIs for an OPS+ of 113. He then missed half of the 2022 season, when the Padres returned to the postseason, playing just 77 games and hitting .261 with 7 homers and 41 RBIs. He missed two months because of a right knee inflammation. His OPS+ was still decent at 108, but he lost the starting right field job to Juan Soto when the young superstar was acquired in a mid-season trade and he ended up being used as a quasi-utility player, with starts at first base, left field and centerfield, and even four appearances on the mound (his ERA was 7.36 in 3 2/3 innings as a mop-up reliever). In the postseason, he split first base duties with Brandon Drury but went only 3 for 29 overall. He did homer once, in Game 1 of the Division Series against the Dodgers on October 11th, against Julio Urias to lead off the 5th inning in a 5-3 loss.

He became a free agent following the 2022 season and was not pursued by the Padres. On December 22nd, he signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds for $7.5 million with a promise that he would be a starter in the outfield in 2023.

Notable Achievements[edit]

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


Further Reading[edit]

  • Adam Berry: "Myers runs away with AL Rookie of the Year Award", mlb.com, November 11, 2013. [1]
  • AJ Cassavell: "Myers dedicated to helping special needs children: Padres 1B hosts second Wiffle Ball challenge to benefit Miracle League of High Point", mlb.com, November 26, 2016. [2]
  • AJ Cassavell: "Myers' torrid pace to start '17 is noteworthy: Padres first baseman extends hit streak to 11 games with homer", mlb.com, April 21, 2017. [3]
  • AJ Cassavell: "Myers open to move back to OF for good of club", mlb.com, December 7, 2017. [4]
  • Mark Sheldon and Paul Casella: "Myers signs 1-year deal, strengthening Reds' outfield", mlb.com, December 22, 2022. [5]

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