Padres’ outfielder Wil Myers found his mojo in 2020

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The San Diego Padres are enjoying a productive 2020 season from Wil Myers. The outfielder found his mojo in 2020. 

Almost from the beginning, the San Diego Padres and Wil Myers have had a rocky relationship.

Indeed, Myers’s name has come up regularly in trade rumors almost since the day he arrived in San Diego, especially after the team signed him to a six-year extension worth $83 million in 2017. Despite the rumors, despite the pandemic, despite the massive changes to the roster, Myers just may have finally found his mojo.

In February, the Padres tried to unload the $61 million left on Myers contract to the Boston Red Sox. Mookie Betts even came up in the conversation, but he ended up in Los Angeles with the Dodgers while Myers remained in San Diego. The Red Sox reportedly balked at absorbing three-quarters of his salary.

Myers had the misfortune of coming to the Padres in the trade that sent prospect and future star Trea Turner to the Washington Nationals. He’s suffered a variety of injuries since arriving. He did stay healthy in his first two full years (2016 and 2017) and played first base almost exclusively. After the 2016 season, the Padres rewarded him with a six-year, $83 million extension, the largest contract to that point in the team’s history, and proclaimed him the “Face of the Franchise.”

But in February 2018, the Padres pivoted and signed another first baseman, Eric Hosmer, to a $144 deal that dwarfed Myers’ salary. Since then, Myers has traveled around the diamond playing all outfield positions and third. Not a Gold Glover at any position, the experiments in center and especially at third flopped miserably.

But this year, Myers has played almost exclusively in right. The Padres, only other option currently on the roster is Jorge Mateo, who was traded for on June 30 for a player to be named later from the Oakland Athletics and promoted in mid-August. Mateo’s role has been as a speedy, athletic utility player.

By just about every measurement, Myers’ 2020 season has been his best since he debuted in 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays. That year he batted .293/.354/.478/.831 and achieved his highest OPS+ of 131 until now. This year he’s maxed out at 165 OPS+ with a batting line of .298/.358/.626/.984, a vast improvement from last year’s .239/.321/.418/,739 with OPS+ 95.

Myers has lowered his strikeout percent from 34.2 to 24.8 and increased his hard-hit rate from 41.4 to 46.7. He currently ranks fifth in OPS at .984, sixth in home runs at 13, seventh in RBI with 35, and second in extra-base hits with 28.

On September 8th, Myers joined in the 2020s “Slam Diego” with two homers, including the Padres’ seventh grand slam of the year, in a 14-5 rout of the Colorado Rockies.  He also went 2 for 4 with a home run, and RBI in the Padres’ only win against the Dodgers on the 14th.

The change in managers may have benefited Myers.  Despite being a first time manager at the major league level, Jayce Tingler has demanded the best from his players and appears to have earned their respect.   Perhaps Myers has risen to the challenge.

Myers lacks focus at times, which undoubtedly frustrated former manager Andy Green. Their relationship definitely suffered when a Myers, unaware that the discussion was streaming live, told former Padre Carlos Asuaje, “It’s so miserable, man.  Andy could not be any worse than he is right now.”

When he realized his blunder, Myers immediately apologized to his manager, but the damage had been done. Under Tingler, Myers got a fresh start and an opportunity to prove himself finally.

Of the opponents left to play in a shortened season where every game carries more weight, the Padres will face the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, and San Francisco Giants. This year he’s batted  .300/.417/.700/,1117, OPS+ 189 against the Mariners, who will play the Padres in San Diego rather than Seattle thanks to the dangerous air quality up north. Against the Giants, he’s batted .286/.318/.619/ .937 OPS+ 144.

Wil Myers might have finally found his mojo in the weirdest of all seasons and the first winning campaign in San Diego since 2010. His success at the plate may not prevent those trade rumors in the future. But he’s proven he’s an integral part of the team when it counts the most, in a year when the Padres will reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

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Diane Calkins
Baseball has been a part of Diane's life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.

1 thought on “Padres’ outfielder Wil Myers found his mojo in 2020

  1. Hard hitting once again. Are you grinding axes or propping up a flogged horse? Is hard to tell. We know we know, Trea Turner. Remind me where his numbers are in comparison to Fernando’s. How did Fernando get here? AJ, that’s right.

    So if AJ had unloaded Wil off on Chaim and the Red Sox and got Mookie instead lets look at how things would be different. Based on what was public it was between 15 to 20M the Padres would have had to eat. 15M was the offer so to get the deal done let say we split it. 17.5M added to 2020-2022 payroll. Plus the additional the additional 13M for Mookie since annual payrolls are figured by AAV (Wil being 14M and Mookie being a 27M payroll hit in 2020. All the while Wil and Mookie’s numbers are pretty close to identical this year. Don’t just go by bWAR or fWAR , dig into the actual stats. Mookie had more stolen bases, more runs scored, and for the life of me I dont understand why Wil is minus on dWAR and Mookie isnt. Fielding percentage is a wash, Wil has one less error and one more assist. Needless to say Wil gave you what Mookie would have without adding the additional money. The final point is alot of the names that got Clevinger, Nola, and Rosenthal would have been used here. In addition to at least one of the top 5 that didnt move at the deadline. In regards to the 2020 Padres and where they are now, its safe to say this not happening was better than if it did.

    Its amusing you lay this at Wils feet with lack of focus and rising to the challenge. Here’s another theory. The 2020 and for that matter 2016 Wil have always been there. Jayce, Wayne Kirby and Damion Easley were able to create an environment to allow Wil to be his best self. Wil embraced that better than being pushed off multiple positions and placed on time out for him not responding positively getting the shaft under Andy’s direction. Ill go with my theory as the 2nd half quit from the entire team says there was some validity there.

    Now people like yourself cant wait to push the trade winds again for a 29 yr that had the 8th best Slugging % in the LEAGUE. In front of names like Trout, Cruz, and Betts. Wil was better than Manny and Nando in OPS+, OPS, and Slug while those two were chasing the MVP. 2nd in 2B only to Cronenworth, 2nd in 3B to Cronenworth, 3rd in H, RBI, and HR. 2020 nor will a postseason run happen without Wil Myers, thank you Wil.

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