Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Will The Real Wil Myers Please Stand Up?

by Ray Kuhn

Wil Myers is a very interesting commodity for both the 2015 season and beyond. After his performance last season, it is hard to remember that just one year ago the 24-year old won the Rookie of the Year. To say that there are a few ways to look at and evaluate Myers would be an understatement.  For starters, he has already been traded twice. What exactly does that say?

While two teams wanted to acquire Myers, that also means two teams (including one that had just traded for Myers two years ago) deemed him to be expendable to some extent. In the case of the Kansas City Royals, I wouldn’t take that approach as they saw an opportunity to compete and moved Myers to bolster their pitching staff. After making the World Series last season with James Shields and Wade Davis, it is hard to argue with the success of that move.

The fact that it only took one bad year for Tampa Bay to move on is potentially a little more troubling but how much really has changed? Was Myers just over valued and we are chasing performance that we shouldn’t be?

From a statistical standpoint, 2013 and 2014 couldn’t have been anymore different. In 2013 he was not called up until June so that explains his 88 games played while last season a fractured wrist limited him to just 87 games. That is where the similarities end:

  •  2013: .293 avg/13 HR/53 RBI/50 R
  • 2014: .222 avg/6 HR/35 RBI/37 R

There is a part of me that just wants to throw out last year’s performance, chalk it up to the wrist injury and its subsequent effect, and move on. That would be irresponsible.

First let’s look at Myers’ power. Based on what he showed in 2013, an expectation of 20-25 home runs is more than reasonable. He had a 143 Power Index (120 xPX) to go along with a 34% fly ball rate and a 15% HR/FB rate. Last season he improved his fly ball rate to 36% while his PX dropped to 88 (96 xPX) with a 7% HR/FB rate. He also saw his Hard Contact drop to 99 from 117 in 2013. These are numbers that I would expect to be restored to their 2013 levels as we can blame the wrist injury, but there is still not enough there for me to bank on more than 15-20 home runs.

To his credit, Myers did have a 10% walk rate last season so I do feel comfortable with that aspect of his game as well. However, that is where my optimism ends.

He saw his line drive rate drop from 20% in 2013 to 16% last year. Additionally his contact rate does not appear to be moving much higher than 72% (80% is average).

From a “luck” perspective, Myers had a 35% Hit% in 2013 compared to 29% last season. It is not as simple as saying that he will recover this season. His contact rate and lack of line drives will work against him and his expected batting average last season was .216, compared to .255 in 2013. Based just on that, you could surmise that he exceeded expectations in 2013 and his performance was right in line last season.

He has talent and has the potential. All signs do point to him being healthy, but the move to San Diego’s cavernous home park doesn’t help.

Unfortunately there really isn’t anything simple or clear cut regarding Myers.

Myers has the potential to be a third outfielder in standard 12-team roto leagues, but he should not be drafted as more than your fifth outfielder, fourth if you really can’t help yourself, but tread carefully. For as much talent as there is, there also is an equal amount of questions.

Source: Baseball HQ

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