Wil Myers is the easy decision to slide into the DH spot for the Padres… Right?! While that seems likely to be the case, don’t be so fast to make that assumption. Myers could be the starting right fielder for San Diego, but he also has already played himself out of a job. His lengthy struggles may have simply relegated him to a bench role, allowing San Diego to utilize the DH to give AB to a younger bat. Names that have been bandied about include Josh Naylor and Ty France, but the most intriguing name to watch…
The questions facing Mejia have always been tied to his defense, not necessarily his bat, and the fear was that his glove issues would at least lead to a split in playing time with Austin Hedges. Now? Conceivably Hedges could be the regular catcher, giving the Padres a defensive improvement, while Mejia could be the regular DH. That would keep his bat in the lineup and give fantasy owners an intriguing option, with a catcher eligible player getting AB at another spot.
At the same time, is the bat really a guarantee to produce? There are two key questions hanging over him, and they aren’t minor ones:
- Will the power develop?
- Can he make regular contact?
In terms of the power, he hit 8 HR in 244 PA last season. Considering the way the ball was flying out of the ballpark, that certainly isn’t an impressive mark. His launch angle could lead to some more power (19.1 degrees), but his exit velocity was league average (87.8 mph, compared to an average mark of 87.5) and he wasn’t hitting the ball especially hard (29.8% Hard Hit%).
The final mark could be tied to his poor approach, as he posted a 13.3% SwStr% and 47.9% O-Swing%. When you are chasing outside the strike zone so much, is it a surprise that you don’t regularly make strong contact?
So the power may not be there, it’s easy to envision strikeout issues and with the weaker contact can we depend on him carrying an elevated BABIP? Throw in an approach that was flyball-centric (44.4% flyball rate) and pull heavy (21.2% Oppo%) and there simply isn’t enough upside.
The name is going to bring optimism, especially if we learn that he’s going to fill the DH role, but the risk far outweighs the potential reward. The other names being discussed over more potential with the bat, and ultimately should fill the role.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, MLB.com
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