Wil Myers is the Padres’ best player. I don’t think there is too much debate about that. The Padres believe in Wil… so much so that this off-season they dedicated six-years/$83 million dollars to him; notably a huge contract in terms of Padres standards.
Myers started off the season hitting everything hard. He was peppering balls all around the yard during spring training. In March and April, Wil hit .310, with seven home runs and 20 RBI. However, recently Myers has gone cold.
In the month of May, Wil hit .214, with only four home runs and 10 RBI. June hasn’t started off wonderful either, as Wil is currently hitting .222 with only one HR, with his only RBI coming off that solo shot.
After taking a deeper dive on this, I found some interesting and notable statistics. A complaint that is heard throughout Petco Park on a nightly basis is that Myers strikes out too much, and doesn’t walk enough. This complaint is fair and can be backed up by the fact that Myers currently holds the 11th worst K percentage in all of baseball, at 30.4%.
With this said, what if I told you during Myers’ tough last five weeks, his strikeouts were down and his walks were up?
In the month of April, Myers struck out 29.1% of the time, while walking at a 1.7% clip. If this is your first time reading about Myers BB% in the month of April, it is not a typo. In 117 plate appearances, Myers walked twice. So, let us fast-forward to the month of May. Myers, in the month of May, struck out 27.4% of the time, roughly two percentage points down from April, and had a BB% of 12.4. The strikeout percentage in May compared to April is nothing notable, other than the fact that it is still high. Although, Myers BB% jumping from 1.7 to 12.4, is notable.
A common baseball fan would conclude walking more correlates with seeing the ball better; thus resulting in better statistics offensively. This, in Wil’s case is the exact opposite. Wil is walking more, and striking out less. So why is Wil struggling more now, when the numbers indicate he is being more patient at the dish? Well, there are a couple of reasons behind this.
The first, and I think the most notable reason, is Myers BABIP in the month of May, compared to April. BABIP is a statistic that measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits, excluding home runs. Wil had a BABIP in the month of April of .384. This means when Wil put the ball in play, his batting average was .384, excluding his seven home runs. In the month of May, Myers BABIP dropped significantly to .266. Why is this the case? In the month of April, his LD% (line drive percentage) was at 31.3, and his hard contact was 50%. These numbers are the reason why his BABIP was so high, he was hitting hard line drives. In the month of May, Wil had a 17.9% line drive rate, and his ground ball percentage was up by 5%, while his hard contact was down 7%. To sum it all up, Wil just isn’t squaring the ball up like he did in April.
One of the main reasons why players struggle is they begin to get pull heavy. Myers, however, does not fall into this category. He hit more balls to center field, and to the opposite field, in the month of May compared to April. That is a good sign, as Myers has great opposite field power. While diving into the Myers’ struggle, Wil becoming pull heavy is not an issue.
I know that I have been throwing a lot of numbers at you, and while I think they are all very telling, let us zoom out and see it from a different perspective. I started this article by saying Myers is the Padres’ best player. When opposing pitchers prepare to face the San Diego Padres, there is not a whole lot they get nervous about. The Padres are well-known to have one of the worst offenses in baseball. The reason this matters is because opposing pitchers have a lot less incentive to pitch to Wil. In the Padres’ lineup, Myers is the one guy that opposing teams don’t want to let beat them. This is not an excuse for Wil, as Mike Trout is the best hitter in baseball on an Angels team that has a whole not of nothing around him. However, it does play a factor, whether Myers wants to admit it or not.
There are many reasons why Myers has hit a cold spell over the last five weeks. However, I am confused why there is such an uproar over a cold month. Myers, whether Padres’ fans like it or not, is a streaky player. Myers has unbelievable months, and he has months where you’re yelling at the television. It has been his nature in his short big league career. His strikeouts are actually down, and his walks are up during his rough month of May. Wil Myers is going to strike out while he’s hot; he struck out more in his strong month of April. Complain all you want about the strikeouts, but I think every Padre fan would be fine with Wil’s strikeouts when he his hitting .310 and driving the ball with power.
The bottom line is Wil is going to struggle from time to time. Yes, he is the Padres’ best player, but he still is growing as a big leaguer and as the leader of this young San Diego Padres ball club. Padres fans, take a deep breath. Wil Myers is an amazing talent, and it won’t be long before every fan in San Diego is swooning over him again.