Why Wil Myers Is Far From A Can’t Miss Prospect And A Must Own Fantasy Option

After plenty of speculation, Wil Myers has officially been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays as part of the package in exchange for James Shields. Unanimously considered one of the best prospects in the game, the Royals have been criticized by many for their willingness to include him (along with three other prospects, like Jake Odorizzi) in the trade.

While I don’t necessarily disagree with the team’s bold decision (especially given the depth of their young hitting and the winability of the AL Central), that’s not really relevant here. The truth is that, while people want to considers Myers a can’t miss prospect he is far from it.

There is no arguing how impressive his numbers were last season, splitting time between Double and Triple-A:

.314, 37 HR, 109 RBI, 98 R, 6 SB over 522 AB

There are a few numbers that need to be take into account, however. Let’s look at his strikeouts and BABIP he posted at each level:

  • Double-A (134 AB) – 27.6% // .425
  •  Triple-A (388 AB) – 22.3% // .349

In fact, his minor league career average of .303 is buoyed by a .356 BABIP. Is that an impossible number to maintain? No, but it also isn’t a certainty. Throw in an issue making contact against pitchers at the upper levels and there should suddenly be concern about hs average.

While others have had more hype based on greater BABIP numbers (like Alex Gordon, who hit .321 based on a .375 BABIP, and Matt Wieters, who hit .343 based on a .370 BABIP), they offer a similar warning. Both Gordon and Wieters were considered can’t miss prospects and, while they have developed into productive players, early in their careers they certainly fell short of the hype.

Can the increased strikeouts be corrected? Baseball America explains the problem this way, after ranking him as the Royals’ top prospect:

“What makes him stand out is that he pairs his pop with an advanced approach at the plate and excellent hand-eye coordination. When he uses the opposite field and doesn’t worry about hitting homers, he can post high batting averages and on-base percentages. His decision to try to hit for more power in 2012 meant that Myers took more aggressive swings in two-strike counts, resulting in a career-high 140 strikeouts. After struggling with chasing balls that were too far in on his hands to hit fair in 2011, he made adjustments to lay off those pitches while showing he could pull fastballs on the inner half for extra bases.”

It is apparent in the numbers, as he had hit just 27 HR prior to the power surge in 2012. So, the question that has to be asked, is he going to continue swinging for the fences? From the metrics, unless something changes, he likely won’t be able to hit for a high average while also posting extreme power.

You also have to keep in mind that a lot of the power came while playing in the Pacific Coast League, well known for elevating player’s power numbers.  That has to be taken into account.  While that’s not to say that he doesn’t have the power potential, 37 HR potential may be pushing it.

Could he hit 30 HR with a .260ish average? It’s not impossible. Could he hit .290ish with 20+ HR totals? That’s another clear possibility. The question is if he can make the adjustment and bring both to the table, hitting .290+ with 30 HR?

The fact is, we really don’t know if (or when) it will happen. While he could be a can’t miss player, he also may not reach his full potential for four or five years, especially given the underlying numbers.

From a fantasy perspective, you also have to take into account the possibility that the Rays keep him in the minor leagues early in the season to delay his arbitration clock.  We’ve seen it many times before, and chances are we are going to see it again here.  The Rays know their budgetary constraints, and they need to do what is necessary for them to keep their players for as long as possible.

Will Myers be a fantasy option this season?  Absolutely, but do not go into the year expecting him to carry your team.  There’s more of a chance that he goes down the road of a Wieters or Gordon as opposed to a Mike Trout.

What are your thoughts of Myers?  How good do you think he will be in 2013?  Would you have traded him as part of the package to land James Shields?

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7 comments

  1. sats says:

    For what the Royals gave up, I think they should have gotten a pitcher with a little more controlability, Matt Moore or Hellickson

  2. Jmax says:

    For what the Royals gave up? This article explains that the best player the Royals gave up might not be all that.
    So Moore or Hellickson huh? They wouldn’t have got either one of those 2 w Shields (controlability being a big reason). They realize they have a shot at the Central and making a trade that didn’t include Price or Shields would be stupid. Also, w Myers name being put there for so long don’t ya think they would have accepted a better offer if there was one?

  3. Matt says:

    His ISO was better in AA (an absured .388!!) than the PCL(“only” .250) so that negates the PCL argument. Completely.

    His SO% improved by 5% with the move to AAA – so as he advanced he signicantly increased his S0% against a higher level of competition – again very impressive.

    Lastly, his speed score and LD% have been high at each stop, lending more credence to his high BABIP.

    He’s universally a top 5 overall prospect and a top 2 hitting prospect – from EVERY single prospect source out there AND he was the BA minor league player of the year last year. He’s not a sure thing but the numbers show that he’s much more likely to succeed than to flame out. Shouldn’t try to downplay his value based on Gordon and Weiters lack of early success. He’s much more valuable, in fantasy and especially real life than this article states.

    • Jmax says:

      Well you can sabre me all you want but they wouldn’t have got more elsewhere. A potential ace is alot more valuable than a top 5 prospect.

      • Matt says:

        Haha. Wow. Re-read your reply. Guess any hole of a well thought out reply where you actually back up your opinion is out the window. Are you 6 years old? Saber you? You were the one using BABIP to back up a regression in AVG. And much of the backlash within the industry has been just that – that they could have gotten more. A potential ace (subjective – just 2 years ago he led the AL in runs AND home runs allowed while pitching to a nifty 5.18 ERA) with two years of team control for $22+ million is more valuable than a top 5 prospect with 6 years of control making the league minimum currently?? And said prospect played RF for the team currently employing Jeff Francoeur…

        Alright bud. Well played. I’ve read rotoprofessor religiously for a couple years but the content has gone downhill and now some nothing author is going to get snarky with me because I (gasp) disagree with his opinion?? I’ve probably been to this site north of 1000 times – this will be my last.

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          Guys, everyone is allowed to have a different opinion now matter how they get there. I don’t think anyone is trying to fight or disrespect each other, and I would appreciate that being kept off the site.

          This should be a place for discussion and sharing of opinions, no matter what they are.

          (Matt, on a side note, I sent you an e-mail regarding part of your comment. Please check it out)

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