On a team surrounded by raw talent, Padres’ outfielder Wil Myers has surged back into focus.
Fernando Tatis Jr. has set the baseball world on fire with his amazing on-field feats. Jake Cronenworth has provided an unexpected boon with both his bat and his versatility. Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet have dominated on the mound.
The 2020 San Diego Padres have become must-see television. With every pitch, there is a chance that something spectacular will happen.
However, one member of the Padres has been quietly having a redemption arc in 2020.
That player is Wil Myers.
Since signing a six-year, $83 million contract in 2017, Myers has struggled to reproduce the output that netted him the deal mentioned above. 2019 saw Myers struggle to the tune of a .239/.321/.418 while posting career lows in both WOBA (.317) and xWOBA (.324).
However, Myers has started the COVID-shortened season, looking like a new man.
For starters, he has changed his approach at the plate. Whereas in seasons prior, Myers stood upright at the plate while his hands and elbows were next to his head, 2020 has seen Myers close himself off by bending at the knees more. This bending results in his hands being stationed behind his head, and his entire body turning away from the pitcher.
By closing his stance, Myers allows himself to swing at the ball when it is deeper in the strike zone to generate more power from his lower body, which, in turn, will enable him to use his natural power to drive the ball to deeper parts of the yard.
Wil Myers keepin' it 💯
— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) August 9, 2020
Drive the ball, he has. According to Statcast, Myers is sitting in the 98th percentile of Major League batters in Barrel %, 95th percentile in xWOBA, and 96th percentile in xSLG. He has increased his exit velocity to an average of 91 MPH and his launch angle to 17.6 degrees.
Those numbers in 2019? 90.2 MPH and a 12.1-degree launch angle.
All of his Statcast numbers prove that Myers has been tearing the cover off the ball, as a .406 xWOBA and .595 xWOBACON far outweigh his .324 xWOBA and .457 XWOBACON of 2019.
On the Padres, Myers is third overall in ISO power, as his .362 mark is just behind Cronenworth (.406) and Tatis (.448). In terms of WRC+, his mark of 158 is fourth on the team with Eric Hosmer (180), Cronenworth (201), and Tatis (219) being the only Friars to outpace him.
Will the production last? Only Myers himself can determine that. But if the numbers are to be believed, then the answer to that question is a resounding yes.