5 Bold Predictions for Wil Myers' Career in the AL East
Through their acquisition of top-prospect Wil Myers—as well as three other notable prospects—on Sunday night, the Tampa Bay Rays staked their claim as an even greater force in the American League East for years to come.
Fresh off arguably the top offensive season in the minor leagues in which he batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs in 134 games, lofty expectations associated with his arrival in the big leagues will be inevitable. And while I firmly believe Myers will make an almost immediate impact in the major leagues, it may take him a few years to finally come into his own and offer consistent production.
So, in anticipation of his future with the Rays, here’s a look at five borderline realistic predictions for his career in the American League East.
First Multi-HR Game Will Come at Fenway Park
Headed into the 2012 season, Myers' career-high home run mark was 14 back in 2010 when he split the year between Low-A Burlington and High-A Wilmington.
Although nobody ever questioned his pure raw power, there was a concern that he’d never learn to utilize it with consistency during games—especially after he popped only eight home runs in 99 games in 2011. However, the 22-year-old outfielder seemingly made up for lost time this past season by launching 37 home runs between Double-A NW Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.
While his excellent hand-eye coordination allows him to barrel the ball, Myers’ power is derived from his quick-twitch, wiry strength, as well as his extension after contact. As a result, the right-handed hitter generates plenty of backspin carry, especially when he squares up something middle-in.
And because a considerable amount of his home runs were towering, tape-measure blasts to left field, I predict that Myers’ first multi-homer game will come on the road at Fenway Park.
Will Help Rays Win at Least One Division Title by 2015
Just because the Rays traded a pair of legitimate major league arms in James Shields and Wade Davis for an assemblage of high-upside prospects doesn’t mean that they are re-building or even re-tooling.
While it won’t be easy to immediately replace Shields in the rotation, I don’t foresee the Rays being any worse than they were in 2012. And after adding yet another young phenom in Myers, they are poised to battle for the highly competitive AL East crown for years to come.
Therefore, I predict that Myers will play a major role in helping the organization win the division at least one time within the next three seasons.
Will Be Selected to First All-Star Team in 2014
Although I don’t necessarily believe that he will be the MVP-type as many seem to already believe, Myers is definitely going to turn in numerous big seasons with the Rays and should be elected to several All-Star games over the course of his promising career.
His bat may lead to an impressive rookie season in 2013, but with a year of invaluable big league experience under his belt, I wouldn’t be surprised if Myers makes his first All-Star squad in 2014.
Will Make A Start at Third Base
Before the Royals moved him to the outfield prior to the 2011 season, Myers had been developed as a catcher and actually made significant strides with his defense in 2010.
However, the 22-year-old added a new position to his résumé last season by appearing in 15 games as a third baseman, 13 of them at Triple-A Omaha.
And you know what? He wasn’t really all that terrible. Given his experience behind the plate, excellent hand-eye coordination and accurate, plus arm, Myers could conceivably handle the position in a pinch. And given Evan Longoria’s hamstring issues, the ability to play Myers at the hot corner is a pretty intriguing fallback option.
Will Feast on Left-Handed Pitching Within the Division
Over the last two seasons, Wil Myers has posted pretty consistent splits against right- and left-handed pitchers. However, he definitely showcases more power against southpaws, batting .294/373/.557 with 67 hits (13 home runs) and 61/30 K/BB in 260 plate appearances.
Furthermore, Myers also sees the ball better against lefties, averaging 4.13 pitches per plate appearance since the start of the 2011 season.