MLB: Tampa Bay Rays-Photo DayGeorge Brett recently attended an event hosted by the Kansas City Baseball Historical Society and offered his thoughts on various topics, including Wil Myers. And let’s just say Brett is not worried about the Royals losing their top prospect (via KingofKauffman.com)

“You gotta remember, Wil Myers is only 22 years old and struck out 155 times last year. He’s gonna struggle.It’s gonna take him a few years.”

First of all, Myers struck out 140 times. And yes, that is still a concern even if you subscribe to the theory that a strikeout is no worse than other outs (it is worse). But there is evidence that his 2012 strikeout totals were a little bloated.

In 2009 and 2010 in low-A and single-A, Myers struck out 17.6% of the time. In 2011, between low-A and double-A, he struck out 20.1% of the time. But in the first 35 games of 2012, while still in double-A, Myers struck out a whopping 27.6% of the time. And yet, when he was promoted to triple-A, his strikeout rate fell to 22.3%. That is still high, but it is a lot closer to the rates he was showing at lower levels.

The bigger concern is his declining walk rate. In 2010, 15.7% of Myers’ plate appearances resulted in a walk. In 2011 that number fell to 13.8%. And in 2012, it was down to 10.3%. As a result, Myers’ strikeout-to-walk ratio has regressed from a very solid 1.1 strikeout-per-walk in 2010 to 1.45 in 2011 and 2.30 in 2012.

For comparison, here are the K-to-BB ratios for Rays players with a min. of 100 plate appearances in 2012…

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Notice that the players we would consider good hitters are near the bottom and the bad hitters are near the top. Myers’ 2012 ratio (2.30) almost lands perfectly at the spot we might consider the cutoff between the two groups.

The strikeouts are not ideal. But the Rays can handle the strikeouts if he is still showing a good feel for the strikezone and drawing walks. He has shown he can do this at the lower levels. But for some reason that has gotten away from him as he moved up the ladder. Will it continue to rise, moving him closer to the upper group? Or will he adjust to the better pitching at the upper levels and see his ratio settle in somewhere in the 1.80-2.00 ratio?

So when we are watching Myers’ numbers in triple-A, don’t get caught up on his batting average or home run totals. Rather, watch his strikeouts and walks and see if he is gaining a better command of the strikezone. Once he does that, we will see him in a Rays uniform.

 
 

9 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    can i pay a fee to have hideki matsui stricken from all charts

    i try to forget it happened

  2. Dave L says:

    Brett of course is Mr. Royal so he’s going to paint a happy face on it from a pro-Royals perspective. The national media have been pretty rough on them for that trade. But we all know he’s could be right. Of all the top hitters in the PCL, Myers was the youngest.

    So the Rays aren’t being coy about when he will join the big team. I dont care how long it takes to get here, I would prefer sooner rather than later, but not until he’s ready. I would rather he didnt come up yet if he is only going to marginally better than what we have now.

    Don’t be surprised if he’s still at Durham at the AS Break. Its all based on his performance.

  3. Bill says:

    Ditto what Dave L said but with a slightly different angle. I hope he’s still in Durham at the AS break because the rest of our guys are kicking ass without him.

  4. Burn H. says:

    I believe that as play at second base goes will play a big part in when Myers will show up. If somebody anybody other than Zoe can take charge there and excel than Will will have the leisure to develop, if not he maybe up by May.

  5. Don says:

    I’ll bet in 20yrs. Brett never thought some rookie was going to come up and save his Team, why change now?Chances are he knows Myers weaknesses bet than anyone who writes baseball articles about prospects
    We will see…

  6. Mr.Smith 1980 says:

    At times last season (more often than not, perhaps) Upton was undeniably the Rays’ best hitter and his K:BB ratio was ridiculously high.

    I wouldn’t panic if Myers came up in May/June and had numbers even as high as 2.5-3. You can’t be shocked/surprised if a player has a bit of a learning curve.

  7. Stevek says:

    Ha! And, did anyone ask Brett what he thinks of Wil Meyers vs Jeff Francour, performance wise. We got a steal of a deal, and Frenchy may only have a better arm.

  8. TOM says:

    Who in the hell cares what George Brett says? I’m sure he’s in the minority, plus he’s a Royal through & through. What else would you expect him to say.

  9. Mike says:

    Also worth noting that Brett is still employed by the Royals.

    But Myers made a conscious approach in Triple A (in a very good park for RHB) to hit for more power, pull the ball more, and adjusted his stance to get more backspin.

    He also had a reputation for patience (but perhaps too much patience) as he came up, letting pitches he could drive go by if they weren’t quite perfect or what he was looking for. He still hit well because he’s a damn good young hitter with good hands, but I think that’s where some of his earlier strikeout and walk numbers come from.

    Last year, he got more aggressive at the plate, particularly with two strikes, so yeah, he did strike out more, but he knew he was trading that off with an increase in power and still hit well aside from the homers. That’s pretty advanced for a kid his age and I have little doubt he can make whatever adjustments necessary to find the right balance.

    He’s gonna be great and I’m gonna be sad that, as a Royals fan, I won’t get to see him in a Royals lineup in Kansas City (though I did see his two games in Kauffman Stadium, oddly enough – first a Double A vs. Triple A game in 2011 then the Futures Game over the ASB last year).

    If you find that he’s stuck in Durham later than you want, you can borrow Royals fans twitter hashtag of #FreeWil.

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