Padres Editorial: Wil Myers is the Face of the Franchise

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Credit: Fox Sports SD

On December 19th 2014, the San Diego Padres traded Rene Rivera, Burch Smith, and Jake Bauers to the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as trading Joe Ross and Trea Turner to the Nationals in a three team trade. Who did they get in return? The reigning American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers. In his rookie year, Myers posted a .293/.354/.478 stat line, tagged along with 13 home runs and 53 RBI in only 88 games.

In his first year as a Padre, Myers did not live up to his expectations. The former outfielder only appeared in a pitiful 60 games, mostly due to a nagging wrist injury that he suffered when playing in Tampa Bay. When he was in the lineup Myers was simply not producing, posting a .253/.336/.427 with eight home runs and 29 RBI.

Was Myers going to show that A.J. Preller had mightily screwed up?

Going into the 2016 season, the San Diego Padres had a hole to fill: the team didn’t have a first basemen. Yonder Alonso was off playing for the Athletics, Yangervis Solarte was hurt, and the other guys fit for the position just simply couldn’t hit. In 2015, Wil Myers played first base 22 times for the Padres. Going into this year’s spring training, it was evident Myers was the clear pick to play first base for San Diego.

Since then, he’s been absolutely fantastic defensively. He hasn’t made an error yet this year, and leads all MLB first basemen in field percentage. Myers also ranks in the top 10 in putouts (7th), double plays (6th), and full innings played (5th). His transition to first from the outfield has been absolutely phenomenal.

He’s very well-rounded defensively, awesome. But, what will the Padres get offensively from the 25-year-old?

Myers started the 2016 season off strong, riding an 11 game hit streak to open up the year. His batting average in the month of April was solid (.302) and it appeared that the Padres were finally getting production from him.

Then came the month of May.

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

Myers struggled heavily, batting .229/.264/.333 with two home runs and nine RBI. Was April a one and done thing for Myers? Not quite. He turned his game around completely in June. He batted .327 with an OBP of .429 and a slugging percentage of .765. Myers blasted 11 home runs and drove in 33 RBI. His OPS in June was the highest in all of baseball, and Myers was recognized by earning the N.L. Player of the Month award. Myers was selected to his first all-star game and it was evident that the young slugger was hitting the ball harder and better than ever.

Although Myers was producing at an elite level, it’s very easy to say that his play was overshadowed by the poor performance of the Padres. The team continued its mighty struggles, and truly Myers along with Drew Pomeranz were the only bright spots in the first half for the Friars. The team was clearly going to be sellers at the deadline again, and with Myers being their best player, the Padres were stuck in the road on whether they should trade him or not.

After dealing Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox for a top pitching prospect, Friars fans began to worry whether or not their star first basemen would be traded. Trading Myers, however, would be a huge mistake.

Myers is clearly the best player on this Padres team. He leads the team in almost every offensive category. He hits for both power (20 home runs, 61 RBI) and contact (100 hits). Don’t forget about his speed as Myers has stolen 16 bases, the most among all Major League first basemen. Myers is on pace to have the first 30-30 season in Padres history, and let’s also not forget how strong he is defensively.

With the 87th All Star game being played in San Diego this year, the Padres and Major League Baseball named Wil Myers the ambassador of the game. San Diego fans love him, and when Myers was announced during the All Star game, Friar fans went crazy for him. It’s very clear: San Diego finally has a franchise player.

Trading Myers would make no sense. Even he has expressed multiple times that he wants to stay in San Diego and he loves the city as well as the fans. With three years left on his contract, it is extremely possible that the team can reach an agreement with Myers on a contract extension. Build around him, don’t let him walk and don’t trade him.

Wil Myers is simply having a great season. He’s hitting well, fielding well, and most of all, he’s turning himself into a superstar. The city of San Diego loves him and his play is bringing the love of the game back to Padres fans. Hopefully Myers can continue his excellence, and if he does, the future is bright for not only him, but the San Diego Padres as well.

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