What would an acceptable season look like from Wil Myers?

Sep 11, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Wil Myers (4) reacts after striking out in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The San Diego Padres wanted to move Myers and the $60 million remaining on his base contract before the start of the 2020 season. However, it’s looking more and more like he will be part of the team on Opening Day.

Once upon a time, Wil Myers was the highest-paid player on the Padres. It seems so long ago.

Myers’ six-year, $83 million contract was the most lucrative in franchise history. The deal is now dwarfed by the $444 million total pledged to Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado.

Despite efforts to move Myers, it looks like, for now, he will stay in San Diego. The Padres can only hope he bounces back. Overall, since signing his extension, Myers has been a colossal disappointment. He is batting .244 with a .768 OPS, 105 OPS+, and averaging 20 home runs and 1.3 WAR in the three years since his extension.

Let’s compare him to Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who signed his extension at age 31, five years older than Myers, for six years, $108 million. The yearly salary is just over $21 million, right around where Myers will be annually from here on out. In the two seasons since his extension, Blackmon has a .302 average, .898 OPS, 119 OPS+, over 30 homers per year, and 4.8 total fWAR. Those are numbers that justify a large contract, unlike what Myers has produced.

What kind of season does Wil Myers need to have in 2020 to justify that large contract and win over the Friar faithful once again?

FanGraphs projects Myers to be mildly disappointing once more, with a .240/.318/.440 line, a 102 OPS+, and 1.5 WAR. That would be an improvement from 2019 when he recorded a .739 OPS, 95 OPS+, and -0.3. WAR. Still, most would consider that underwhelming given the contract.

Since extensions AVG OPS OPS+ HR fWAR/yr
Myers (3 years) 0.244 0.768 105 59 1.0
Blackmon (2 years) 0.302 0.898 119 61 2.4

For $20 million per season, it’s justified to expect a season much like Blackmon had in 2019, with 32 home runs, a .940 OPS, and 123 OPS+ with 3.2 WAR. The unofficial “going rate” is about $6.5 million per year per WAR. So if Myers is earning $20 million base salary, using this formula, one would expect him to produce around a 3 WAR.

Myers does have a 3-plus WAR season under his belt, back in 2016, his lone All-Star appearance, when he notched 3.5 WAR. That season, he hit 28 home runs, with a .797 OPS and a 115 OPS+. The wrench in the equation is that he was a first baseman that season, thus his defensive value was different than it would be in 2020 in the outfield.

Myers was a serviceable and, at times, a solid defensive first baseman, with 8 Defensive Runs Saved in 2016. In the two years that Myers has played outfield, he has totaled -2 Defensive Runs Saved, bouncing around each outfield spot. He is a decent defender in the corner spots but is outside of his element in centerfield.

Myers WAR by season w/SD (via Baseball Ref)
2015 1.1
2016 3.5
2017 2
2018 2.4
2019 -0.3

Thus, his defense will also have to improve if he is to achieve 3 WAR or have an even better offensive season to make up for his slightly below-average defense.

Myers essentially needs to put together a season of at least 3 WAR to win back the hearts of San Diego Padres fans as well as justify that gaudy contract. It might be wishful thinking, but he does have a little history of accomplishing such a season. Padres fans would likely be ecstatic if he can even come close to his 2016 production.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

6 thoughts on “What would an acceptable season look like from Wil Myers?

  1. Love your writing…but i think this was a really bias comparison for a few reasons:

    Myers didn’t choose to backload the deal
    Blackmon is far older as you mentioned and is already in decline
    Myers didn’t force himself off of 1B
    $25M more went to Blackmon, he was far older
    bWAR likes Myers more than fWAR and it likes Blackmon less
    Blackmon hasn’t played CF, 1b, and 3B by team demand
    Most think it’s about $8M/WAR i thought and myers contract has an AAV of under $14M, so basically 2 WAR/year
    Myers has produced 3 fWAR (4.1 bWAR) for $14M whole dollars so far. So, so far he’s actually been a net positive over his contract.
    Myer’s stats at 3B and CF are both far, far worse than LF/RF/1B. The padres are far more to blame than referenced.

    Don’t get me wrong, i have plenty of issues with Myers and the contract the padres inked him to…but this felt much more like a skewed, opinion email than a comparison, projection etc.

  2. Wishing and hoping Wil has a great year for the Pads! Then maybe we can trade him in the off-season. Honestly Wil never acts like he cares. He is wasting his talent. The fans want to root for him but swinging at two-strike pitches that are three feet off the plate happens way too often.
    Bottom line: A successful season for Wil is in another teams uniform.

  3. myers: put the gloves on, bend a little more at the waist and knees. scared of inside pitch ? padres : worst on base percentage, most strikeouts in baseball. sooo preller retain your same hitting coach, seems like padres are a refuge for ex rangers and friends of prellers. ??? padres have become a member of ” old boys club ” in short order. watch bochy giants in petco last year, inside pitch to start almost every at bat . it may not be his salary, is the whole league aware of his approach. fast ball inside, slider away he cant reach. he is an athlete, coach him up for g’sake. still my favorite player, no trade!

  4. Most metrics say the number per WAR when figuring surplus value is more like 8M but it does vary. The number to focus on with Wil has always been SO. His SO% in 2019 was the highest of his career at 34% vs 23% in 2016. His on base since being a Padre is a tick below .330, his OPS+ is 108, his WRC+ is 107. The highest WRC+ were 2015 (114) and 2016 (115). That still has Wil tied for 5th with Trent Grisham (Tatis, Pham, Garcia, Machado). Base stealing and defense also plays into this is you are using WAR as the measuring stick. 2018 is the only Padres season he posted with a positive dWAR. In that season he played CF once in 41 games played in the OF.

    With all that said if you asked 10 Padres fans if they would be content with the team eating 10M for each of the next three seasons; probably at least 8 would have said yes. Even Ron Fowler admitted as much. Problem is prospects would still need to be included to get anyone to bite. So 12M is essentially where most see Wils value. Whether its your scale or mine that is a 2 WAR player. I think if the franchise can commit to keeping Wil in RF and keep him engaged in the daily lineup 2 WAR is a very realistic expectation. Who knows maybe he could even find 3 and that would put him is a neutral surplus value position; even at 20M a season. Almost 40M comes off the books in 2021, there is no need to do anything rash here.

    1. I agree. Unless a “value for value” trade arises, the quote unquote best thing would be a healthy Wil Myers, fully motivated by his new manager and hitting coach as they were hired to do, taking his unique and substantial skill set and giving a big eff ewe to all doubters/haters. A forced trade to banish him at a significant cost in cash and/or talent would be juvenile and inconsistent. We traded $7.6 million dollars
      to the Twins for a 74th pick for crying out loud. https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2018/6/5/17422352/phil-hughes-twins-padres-mlb-trade-draft-pick. The significant free agents that cost significant money are gone now, so there is no hurry to reclaim salary. Clearly, the organization has decided this already. He’s a 30-30 candidate still. He was 18-12 in a “bad” year of part time play. We could do far worse, and frankly, need to stop talking about him so negatively because of a contract he was offered and accepted.

      The only caveat would be if he is a clubhouse cancer whose subtraction improves our team. And, if so, grow the heck up. You’re making $20+ million. Be a good teammate and freaking employee for crying out loud.

      With zero vitriol toward Eric Hosmer, a motivated Myers, in my mind 30,000 feet from reality, is a Comeback Player of the Year at first base waiting to happen. He’s on record as saying how much more into the game he is at that position. If there was a way to trade Eric to the Royals in a three teamer or to Colorado for say Charlie Blackmon if he can play center field some still…could be of value.

      I just hope for the best for all 3 (Padres, Wil, and Eric).

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