It’s no secret that Wil Myers has been struggling at the plate so far this season. The Padres’ highest-paid player, and the guy expected to be a leader in the clubhouse, hasn’t quite lived up to the hype this season.
Through June 11, Myers has a .256 batting average. Now, batting average isn’t something people like to use anymore to evaluate hitters. People hold on-base percentage and slugging percentage to be higher values than the traditional batting average. Myers is doing well in both those stats. He has a .311 OBP and a .471 SLG.
However, one eye-popping stat that is hurting the Padres’ first baseman is his strikeout rate.
Myers has made 260 plate appearances, and he has struck out a whopping 80 times. That gives him a .304 strikeout rate. That is much too high, especially for the player who has the highest salary in the clubhouse.
The strikeouts are some something that can be corrected. Myers is a talented enough player who can change his approach and make more contact. However, another thing that the young first baseman should work on, is his attitude.
When he hits a home run it’s surely fun to watch. He usually stands and admires it for a second, then flips the bat towards the dugout before beginning his trot around the diamond.
However, he has that same carefree manner when he walks back towards the dugout without a hit. When he swings at strike three, or watches it without a swing, he does a nonchalant flip with the bat before beginning a halfhearted walk back to the dugout.
Now, before people close this link and completely write off what I’m saying, let me say that I don’t think Myers’ extension was a huge mistake or that he’s just going through the motions now that he has a contract.
What I am saying is that he’s been on this roster since 2015, meaning he’s been here a lot longer than most of the other players in this clubhouse. The young guys are watching him.
When the Padres played the Reds on June 12, Myers looked different. He had an RBI-single. In another at-bat, he hit a weak fly ball to center, but still ran it out, all the way to second base.
This is the image he should display while this team continues to mature and improve. The only player who’s been here longer is Yangervis Solarte, but he may not be here past July.
This is Myers’ team. Last season was an up-and-coming year for him in terms of individual accolades. He was the team ambassador during the all-star break. He was added to the home run derby, and started at first base in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game. His play last year earned him the extension that he has.
When Myers was acquired, Preller brought in a group of all-stars along with him. He traded for Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, Craig Kimbrel, Melvin Upton, Jr., and Justin Upton. Those five are gone, but Myers has remained. The front office decided to keep him rather than shipping him for prospects. Plenty of teams would have traded for him if they had the opportunity.
Myers doesn’t have a .300/.450/.500 batting line, but he doesn’t really have to do that. What he does have to do is show effort while he’s on the field. Correct the mistakes, and show his young teammates why he’s the cornerstone of this rebuild. His extension was the first major move, a long-term commitment from the front office, towards turning the Padres into a contender.