by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There were high hopes for Wil Myers entering 2017, and while fantasy owners were generally disappointed with the production could that be more of a misconception? He did fall short of his 2016 production, as the numbers show:
567 At Bats
.243 Batting Average (138 Hits)
30 Home Runs
20 Stolen Bases
.328 On Base Percentage
.464 Slugging Percentage
.297 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Outside of his power he took a step back across the board. Of course the RBI/R could just as easily be blamed on the production around him. Just look at the production between 2016 and 2017 for the team as a whole:
- 2016 – .235 AVG, .299 OBP, 686 R
- 2017 – .234 AVG, .299 OBP, 604 R
Considering the AVG/OBP were similar, and the 2017 marks were both the worst in the league, it’s easy to argue that the runs scored for the team were due to drop significantly. Hopefully the team can improve the lineup around Myers, otherwise he’s going to continue to be capped in the 80-85 range for both counting stats.
No one is going to complain about the power or speed, both of which he’s now proven are real. The real question comes down to his batting average, and two factors were key to his regression:
1) Looking For The Long Ball
Myers’ fly ball rate jumped from 33.9% in ’16 to 42.9% in ’17, indicating that the power surge he showed in ’16 may have gotten into his head a bit. It’s not that he had a tremendous BABIP in 2016, though, with a .305 mark. That gives hope that the inflated fly ball rate isn’t going to completely cripple his average, especially with his Hard% ballooning to 41.4% (12th best among qualified hitters).
It’s interesting that his strikeout rate jumped from 23.7% to 27.7%, and maybe looking for the long ball did help to impact him. At the same time no one pitch plagued him, and that gives hope for an improvement (Whiff%):
- Hard – 9.56%
- Breaking – 14.47%
- Offspeed – 9.62%
You take that knowledge, along with his other numbers, and we get the following projection for 2018:
.259 (149-575), 29 HR, 85 RBI, 85 R, 24 SB, .300 BABIP, .345 OBP, .483 SLG
Myers is never going to be a .300+ hitter, but he has power and speed and did hit .255 in the first half of ’17. If he maintained that throughout the season would anyone truly be “down” on him? Considering his .256 BABIP in the second half, as well as an improvement in his strikeout rate (30.0% to 24.8%), it’s easy to envision an improvement. He’s not going to be an elite option, but with the ability to produce across the board if his draft day value dips don’t hesitate to grab him.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, MLB.com
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