The Padres’ Wil Myers is a bit of an enigma. He has plenty of positives to his game, but sometimes his negatives outweigh his overall abilities on the baseball diamond. Let’s take a look at Myers and examine him in this latest edition of PNO.
When the San Diego Padres inked Wil Myers to a six-year, $83 million deal in January of 2017, there were thoughts that he was the face of the franchise.
Myers was labeled so by the Padres, but responded with a disappointing 2017 season in which he put up a 2.1 WAR in 155 games. The fact he played the whole year was encouraging, but many expected his offensive numbers to be better than his 2016 All-Star season. Myers showed glimpses of being a middle of the order hitter, but also struggled to display any kind of consistency with his approach.
In 2018, he moved positions multiple times and had issues with health. An arm and an oblique injury resulted in Myers playing roughly half the season for the Padres. He managed to amass a 2.4 WAR in 84 games, which are excellent numbers, but the fact he suffered health problems was disconcerting to the team.
There are whispers that the front office is concerned with his demeanor and work ethic as well. Only whispers at the moment, but one must ponder his future with the team as the Padres bring in tons of young players who need to learn how to prepare themselves properly for the daily grind of a major league season.
It is not fair to throw Myers completely under the bus, as he has battled multiple position changes, multiple hitting coaches, and also saw the roster crumble around him. He has surely not lived up to expectations, but does that mean he never will?
In the following piece, let’s examine Myers’ positives and negatives, while then providing an outlook for him moving forward.
These PNO pieces will run during the offseason and we will cover plenty of Padres within the system.
With 61 stolen bases over the last three years and the ability to play all over the field, Myers displays top-notch athleticism on the baseball diamond. The fact he managed to be serviceable at third base towards the end of the 2018 season is further testament that he has skills with the glove. Let’s not kid ourselves- he has work to do at the position. But Myers did show a lot of heart and athletic ability in playing third. He should be commended for that.
Wil Myers can change a game with his speed and power combination. More often than not, Myers is labeled as a player who plays the game lackadaisically. However, if the game is on the line and a groundball needs to be beaten out, he will hustle. It takes little effort to hustle on the baseball field and Myers does display the ability to be a factor with his speed.
Playing all over the field is not easy. Myers can play all three outfield positions, both corner infield positions, and was drafted as a catcher. Wil Myers could be used by the Padres behind the plate in an emergency if needed by Andy Green. The manager has joked about that fact before. Hopefully, it never comes to that, as Myers and his longterm financial investment is something the team needs to protect.
The right-handed hitter can bat all over the lineup. He can provide a speed element to a team or he can also drive in runs if needed. Myers has hit all over the lineup and could be used that way in the future depending on what the Padres do in and around him with the lineup. The game of baseball has once again changed. Players that can play multiple positions are useful for managers. Myers should probably always expect to be moved around the diamond to some degree, especially in big games.
There is no doubt that Myers has one of the best offensive abilities on the team. The ball flies off his bat with ease and he quite often uses the whole field when his timing is right. The fact he has power from foul pole to foul pole makes him a difficult player to pitch to. When Myers is locked in, he stays in the box and fails to lean over the plate. The Padres are making adjustments with his daily swing, as we have yet to see the best from him.
The fact he can swipe bags and go first to third makes him a viable offensive force as well. The Padres wish he could find that consistency, as he has a perennial all-star type of profile. A 30/30 season is well within reach for Myers if he remains healthy. At the age of 27, he is more than capable of picking up his offensive game and taking it into another level. He will always intrigue people with his offensive potential.
This seems to be the main thing everyone harps on about Myers. He missed roughly half of 2015 and half of this past season. He did play in 312 games in 2016 and 2017, so labeling him as injury prone is probably unfair. Myers plays through nagging injuries, but sometimes you need a few weeks off. The oblique strain this year was something that takes time.
Playing multiple positions has worn him out a bit as well. When he solely played first, he remained healthy. That is not an option with Eric Hosmer on the roster, but Myers could enjoy some rejuvenation by remaining in an area for the majority of his starts for the team. Health and the injury-prone label will continue to follow Myers as he has failed to deliver.
From time to time, Wil Myers just looks disconcerted on the baseball field. We all see it. There is no hiding it. His demeanor is that of a player going through the motions, and that can drive some of the fanbase crazy. Myers may look like he is dogging it, but critics can hardly find a moment on the field when he fails to hustle at a timely moment in the game.
Myers is an easy going guy. He enjoys life and realizes that he is playing a kid’s game for a living. If fans want intensity, they should look elsewhere. That is just not who he is as an individual. Perhaps with some intensity, he would find some consistency with his swing. But that would take a complete overhaul of his personality.
Watching Myers get out of his element with his swing and approach is frustrating to see. You will occasionally witness him take strike three right down the middle without taking the bat off his shoulder. That indicates that he is guessing a lot up there, something that cannot be done with two strikes. This is an absolute baseball sin and is troubling.
When Myers is on, he defends the plate and commands the strike zone in all counts. When he is locked in, he spits on outside pitches without even flinching at them and getting off balance. When he is off, he practically falls into the left-hander’s batters box, flailing at pitches on the outside of the plate. For a hitter who can easily drive the ball to right field, he gets occasionally way too pull-happy as well. These are all simple adjustments as the talent is there for him. He must adjust if he wants to further his skill in this game.
His future with the team is a bit cloudy. The Padres have moved him all over the field, and that has not done much to help stabilize his batting approach. If the team can open up a spot for him and pencil him in there every day, he could be someone who offensively takes off. Though his multiple positional skill is something that is attractive in itself.
Myers is not a .300 hitter, but he is also not a .253 hitter like his career average indicates. With hard work and a sense of renewed excitement about the game, Myers could easily hit in the .270-.280 range and be a 30/30 threat. Numbers like that should produce a 4.5-5.5 WAR player with ease, and that is a productive individual. That is the upside of Myers.
The downside is a player who is going to make $22.5 million each season for three straight years starting in 2020, and who has also failed to live up to expectations. Some think the Padres should deal Myers and eat some of the contract. I fail to see the bonus in that. His value is down right now, and getting pennies on the dollar for a versatile 27-year-old isn’t wise. I would expect Wil to remain on the roster unless the Padres are offered a deal they cannot refuse for an ace starting pitcher.