Since entering the Royals' system in 2009, Wil Myers has absolutely raked at every stop—excluding his injury-plagued 2011 campaign where he batted .254/.353/.393 with 23 doubles, eight home runs, 49 RBI, 87 strikeouts and 52 walks in 99 games.
He seemingly came back with a chip on his shoulder this season, as he’s assaulted Double- and Triple-A to the tune of .308/.385/.593 with 152 hits, 26 doubles, 35 home runs, 104 RBI, 137 strikeouts and 61 walks.
The 21-year-old outfielder began the season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he batted .343/.414/.731 with 11 doubles and 13 home runs in 35 contests and received a quick promotion to Triple-A Omaha.
In the 93 games since that promotion, the right-handed hitter is batting .294/.375/.542 with 15 doubles, 22 home runs and 74 RBI.
Throughout the entire season, there has been ongoing speculation about when the Royals may finally call him up to the major leagues. And with rosters set to expand from 25 to 40 players on Sept. 1, it has only intensified over the last two weeks.
In my opinion, Myers is ready for the challenge.
Yes, he’s had a few intermittent slumps over the last two months, but he’s always bounced back and continues to post robust offensive numbers.
Exploding from an upright, balanced stance, the right-handed hitter has quick wrists with outstanding bat control, as well as plate coverage that allows him to effortlessly drive the ball to all fields. His direct bat path allows for hard, consistent contact, while the loft in his swing and extension after contact generate easy power.
Plus, he doesn’t use batting gloves, and that’s just awesome.
Myers is currently second in the minor leagues with 35 home runs, trailing only Darin Ruf of Double-A Reading (Phillies), who has seven home runs in his last 10 games. More importantly, the right-handed hitter's power may be the perfect complement to the Royals' young left-handed-hitting corner infielders, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.
Myers has considerably more power to the pull side, but he still keeps his hands back long enough to jump the yard to the opposite field.
Myers' plate discipline is advanced beyond his years, and he’s comfortable hitting any pitch in any count. Although he’s capable of drawing walks (64), Myers has focused on driving the ball this season and the results speak for themselves. Yes, he’s struck out more than one would like to see—137 to be exact—but a different approach wouldn’t yield 104 RBI.
A legitimate candidate for 2012 Minor League Player of the Year honors, Myers has seemingly been on the verge of a call-up since his promotion to Triple-A earlier this season. However, the Royals have had nowhere to play him, not to mention nowhere to immediately create room on their 40-man roster.
With a .979 OPS in 128 games—he posted a 1.146 OPS in 35 games at Double-A and owns a .916 OPS at Triple-A—the 21-year-old’s bat is ready. Even though there’s still some swing-and-miss to his game, Myers is far too advanced of a hitter to stay in the minors any longer than deemed absolutely necessary.
Originally drafted and developed as a catcher, the Royals moved him to the outfield in 2011. Although he handled primarily right field that year, Myers has played the majority of his games (85) in center field this season. He’s capable of playing all three positions, but appears more comfortable in either center or right.
It’s also interesting to note that he’s played 13 games at third base this season, which only increases his already-sky-high prospect stock.
Myers will be nothing more than an average defensive outfielder, although the plus arm that made him a highly touted catching prospect is still there.