It’s Time For The Royals To Promote Wil Myers

It’s been a trying year for the Kansas City Royals. After being one of the better hitting outfits in the game last season, they have not hit nearly as well this year, and while the pitching has improved, they are currently down two starters in Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino as well. Still, the team has persevered. Since posting a 6-15 record in April, they have gone 23-20 — including five wins in their past six games — to remain on the periphery of the American League Central “race.” They are still not scoring enough runs to be taken seriously as we move closer to the All-Star break, but unlike many teams, Kansas City has a great in-house solution laying in wait in prospect Wil Myers.

Originally drafted as a catcher, the Royals moved Myers to the outfield last season, a transition that was slowed by an infected knee. He primarily played right field, but also saw time in center and left. But when the Royals made the incredibly poor decision to keep Jeff Francoeur and not Melky Cabrera this past offseason, right field was no longer an available option for Myers. And with Alex Gordon stationed in left field, the best landing spot for Myers became center, and that’s where he has played the majority of this season — he has played center in 38 of his 65 games thus far. But whether he’s played center, right or third base (he snuck in a couple of games there) he has absolutely crushed the ball.

With the knee infection well in his rearview mirror, the 21-year-old North Carolina native has shown that his outburst in the Arizona Fall League last season was no fluke. He started the season by repeating Double-A, but he wasn’t there long. The .498 wOBA that he posted for Northwest Arkansas is still first place in the Texas League by a 52-point margin (minimum 100 plate appearances), and the two players closest to his mark are two and four years older, respectively. By the middle of May, Kansas City had seen enough and shuffled him off to Omaha, where he has kept hitting. His .451 wOBA for Omaha ranks sixth in the Pacific Coast League (min. 100 PA), and his peripherals have improved in Triple-A as well.

The samples are small, as Myers had just 152 PA’s in Double-A, and is at just 127 so far with Omaha, but the numbers that he has posted have been encouraging. He has had a bit of a strikeout problem during his short stay in the Minors, and that peaked at Double-A. He struck out 20.9 percent of the time in Double-A last season, and 27.6 percent of the time there this season. But since moving to Omaha, he has gotten his K% under 20, to 19.7%. It’s just under the 20-percent bar, and one golden sombrero would send him shooting back over the threshold, but so far he has managed to course correct while moving up a level. That he has been able to do so while not seeing any appreciable drop in his walk percentage is even more impressive. The icing on the cake is that he has been able to maintain an incredibly high level of productivity without an insanely high BABIP, as the .425 mark he posted at Double-A this season has fallen to .312 in Omaha.

On the other hand, “incredibly productive” would not be a very apt description for the 2012 Royals’ outfield. As a unit, they have posted a better wRC+ than only five other teams — the Pirates, Cubs, Nationals, Indians and Astros. This stands in sharp contrast to last season, when the unit’s 122 wRC+ was fourth-best in baseball. Center field has particularly been problematic. With Lorenzo Cain being out since the season’s fifth game, Jarrod Dyson has been the primary center fielder. He has started 40 of the past 45 games in center with lackluster results. Among the 33 center fielders who have logged at least 150 plate appearances this season, the only player who has been less valuable than Dyson is Marlon Byrd, and he is currently on the waiver wire. Part of that is Dyson’s lackluster UZR, but he hasn’t exactly been on fire at the plate either. He is hitting better in June than he did in May, but that’s mainly because it’s tough to sink lower than a .293 wOBA and still receive regular playing time (though Dee Gordon is doing his best to challenge that notion). For the season, Dyson has posted just a .290 wOBA, which ranks just 26th among center fielders.

All of that is a long way of saying that Myers can help the Royals right now. The final impediment to a call-up would be to make sure he doesn’t achieve Super-Two status, but if MLB Trade Rumors is correct in their determination that we have passed the Super-Two danger zone, then the time to call up Myers is now. While only seven teams have a worse overall run differential than the Royals, the mediocre flea market that is the AL Central has provided them an opportunity to remain in the race. It’s a seemingly remote chance at the moment — Cool Standings has their playoff odds at just 9.6 percent today — but that will change quickly if the team stays hot. And the best way for them to stay hot is to get more offense. The Royals have scored five or more runs in only 21 games this season — only the Cubs have done so less frequently. Of the five games that they won last week, four were one-run victories and one was a two-run victory. They only scored five runs in one of the games, and they needed 15 innings to do that.

Since they are still under .500 and are still best positioned for a run in 2013 or 2014, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Royals to look externally for additional offense, but with Myers in the fold, they don’t need to. And with Dyson providing neither average offensive nor defensive value in center, Myers won’t need to produce superstar numbers to be of value to KC. But superstar numbers are what Myers will eventually put up, and even if he doesn’t help jumpstart a pennant charge this season, the additional time in the Majors this year will give both him and the Royals a leg up on next season, as they will be able to discern whether or not he can handle center. If he can, Lorenzo Cain becomes expendable. If he can’t, then Jeff Francoeur will become even more expendable than he already is. Given how well he has played, how poorly Dyson has played, and with Super-Two status no longer an issue, there is no downside to promoting Myers.



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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com. He has written for The Boston Globe, ESPN MLB Insider and ESPN the Magazine, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.


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yosoyfiesta
Member
yosoyfiesta
3 years 11 months ago

Seems like a no brainer, he’s producing at a ridiculous clip, .310/.386/.690, and is striking out less. The kid can flat out hit and should be in the majors. Simple fix, move Gordon to CF, Dyson to the bench and Myers can take over LF. Gordon could fake CF for a while and you’d get Myer’s bat in the line-up.

Bob in San Bruno
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Bob in San Bruno
3 years 11 months ago

“A former catcher playing CF? Don’t make me laugh!” ~ Dale Murphy

brendan
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brendan
3 years 11 months ago

this. hard for me to believe that he has to range to play a capable CF. Any scouting on his defense in center?

philosofool
Member
Member
philosofool
3 years 11 months ago

Not sure this is really an issue. Because catcher is the most valuable defensive position, any player with the tools to play it will be asked to play it regardless of the rest of his tools. Because speed is not necessary to playing catcher, many catcher lack that tool, and the stress of the job tends to rob them of speed at a premature age. For these reasons, speed is rarely observed in catchers. However, there is no reason to think that former catching prospects will necessarily lack speed or any other tool needed to play the outfield. Ask Jason Werth.

Matt
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Matt
3 years 11 months ago

Or Craig Biggio

ryan
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ryan
3 years 11 months ago

ask Craig Biggio too

jon
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jon
3 years 11 months ago

Or Harper….

Sooted72
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Sooted72
3 years 11 months ago

or you could ask Craig Biggio

Grant
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Grant
3 years 11 months ago

hey, what about craig biggio? I believe he was also a catching prospect

ray ray
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ray ray
3 years 11 months ago

craig biggio, asshole

Dale
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Dale
3 years 11 months ago

…. or Dale Murphy.

KCEXile
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KCEXile
3 years 11 months ago

Hey I heard you could ask Craig Biggio.

Steve M
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Steve M
3 years 11 months ago

Of course, the Nationals have a former catcher playing center as well. Last year the question was whether they could convert Bryce Harper into an outfielder, but he seems to have addressed the hole in CF fairly well.

Doug Strange
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Doug Strange
3 years 11 months ago

Yes, quite similar to Craig Biggio, another player one could ask about it.

Paul
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Paul
3 years 11 months ago

Pennant race? Are you on drugs? The Royals are a disaster. A 22.8 UZR/150 for Jarrod Dyson is the best evidence I’ve seen yet that it should not be taken seriously. I would estimate the average speed of balls in Dyson’s zone that he did not reach at 412. I personally saw Edwin Encarnacion hit a screamer over his head that was past him before he could even react. Their starters throw batting practice.

Count me as one of the Royals fans who is absolutely against seeing Myers at all this year. The last thing we need is yet another young player to spend five minutes in the minors, then be brought up and hyped as the next George Brett. What’s even worse than their starters throwing BP is that that’s the approach to offense of all but two of their hitters. I don’t want them bringing in yet another talented young player to adopt #CountryBreakfast’s pathetic grip it and rip it approach. Not that GMDM would ever bring in staff that would insist on professional AB’s, but around here we are at the point of hoping for miracles.

Timothy
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Timothy
3 years 11 months ago

Write a coherent comment and then I’ll actually respond.

Straw Man
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Straw Man
3 years 11 months ago

Hi Timmy!

Eric
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Eric
3 years 11 months ago

The same Billy Butler that has been at the top of the leaderboard in doubles multiple seasons…that’s usually an indicator of a talented hitter with a good approach…not a Preston Wilson/Mark Reynolds type hitter.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 11 months ago

Preston Wilson and Mark Reynolds were atop the leaderboards in home runs multiple seasons. Are you saying that a double is more valuable than a home run?

Eric
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Eric
3 years 11 months ago

Career stats:
Preston Wilson (10 seasons): .264, 189 HR, 1085 SO, 350 BB, 1055 H/4003 AB
Mark Reynolds (6 seasons): .238, 163 HR, 1018 SO, 363 BB, 633 H/2663 AB
Billy Butler (6 seasons): .297, 86 HR, 431 SO, 273 BB, 834 H/2805 AB

Are doubles more valuable than HR? In Fantasy, No. In real life? Debatable, depends on your approach to the game.

My point was you called Billy Butler a “grip it and rip it” hitter, when in fact he is much more disciplined at the plate than you give him credit for. Sorry you didn’t just call it a “grip it and rip it” you even had the moronic sense to call Butler’s approach “pathetic.”

D>HR?
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D>HR?
3 years 11 months ago

What is the argument for this? I don’t think it’s very debatable.

Scott M
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Scott M
3 years 11 months ago

Yes, Myers may well help the Royals right now. But what use is starting Myers service time clock in a lost season where his presence likely wouldn’t even get the Royals to .500? He shouldn’t be called up before mid-April 2013.

ScHoolBoyQ
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ScHoolBoyQ
3 years 11 months ago

Yes, let him sit in the minors for two weeks to open next year. Starting opening day would be too much pressure.

d_i
Member
Member
d_i
3 years 11 months ago

“But when the Royals made the incredibly poor decision to keep Jeff Francoeur and not Melky Cabrera”

Let’s be honest here. No one made a big stink about letting Melky go when they did. Everyone thought each of them had their career years last year. Turns out it was just Frenchy, but to say they should have known to kept Melky is revisionist history.

Isaac
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Isaac
3 years 11 months ago

It’s still a poor decision, though. Yeah, it may have been a tough outcome to foresee, but they really screwed up letting Cabrera go, regardless of how many other people would have made the same decision.

And if you do go back and look at last season, it’s not as if he had superficially good stats. His power wasn’t out of the realm of reasonability and his contact rates supported his batting average.

jim fetterolf
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jim fetterolf
3 years 11 months ago

“It’s still a poor decision, though.”

Last year all the cool kids were chanting “Regression to the mean”, demanding that Lorenzo Cain’s superior range take over CF, and praying for an SP with a big K%. Don’t remember anyone predicting Melky to have another great year or Cain and Sanchez to be hurt. Injuries aren’t really predictable.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

I think “unfortunate” is a much better word choice. The way it’s written implies that they should have known better. That simply isn’t true.

HG
Guest
HG
3 years 11 months ago

Yeah I actually agree with you. The royals had a guy waiting in the minors (lerenzo Cain) that they thought could hit about as well and play much better defense. And until he got hurt he was. We can’t have this discussion until he comes back, which should be soon. Also, from what I have heard Francour is a big leader in the clubhouse. I think Myers will start the next year with a call up if there is another injury. They should still keep frenchy on the bench though.

Greg
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Greg
3 years 11 months ago

‘Let’s be honest here. No one made a big stink about letting Melky go when they did.”

I bring you to the fine folks at Royals Review:

“Moreover, if you were going to bring either Melky or Francoeur back, I don’t know how you don’t choose Melky. He’s been better and plays a more premium position.”

http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/8/18/2370435/breaking-royals-announce-extension-given-to-jeff-francoeur-through

Ryan
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Ryan
3 years 11 months ago

The problem with that comment is that Melky and Frenchy were offered the exact same deal to return. Frenchy took it, and Melky wanted a longer term deal.

The Royals were absolutely correct in not caving and offering Melky a long-term deal.

Greg
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Greg
3 years 11 months ago

Perhaps so, but with Myers on the way, there was nothing wrong with keeping Melky on the cheap for this year. There was no real need to lock up either long term.

KCEXile
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KCEXile
3 years 11 months ago

I was one of the people who lost my mind when I returned to the world the day after the trade deadline to find that both Melky and Frenchy were still on my beloved Royals.

I also thought offering an extension to Frenchy was stupid, he draws walks at a Brett Lawrie level without much power, besides a 20/20 fluke last year. The Royals offense has been below avg in walks for over 15 years in a row, so why switch it up now?

I was also someone who thought trading Melky for Dirty (Jonathon) Sanchez was a shrewd move.

So while this trade has worked the exact opposite I and most observers imagined, it wasn’t necessarily a bad move. What was inexcusable was not moving them at the deadline last year when their value was at its pinnacle.

A major regression by Gordon has also contributed to the huge offensive hole in the Royals lineup. That is as significant if not more so than Frenchy’s woes, as Gordon was expected to be a star while Frenchy was never viewed as more than a stopgap.

Tom
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Tom
3 years 11 months ago

Look at the Angels and Nats. Their respective seasons have been saved by Trout and Harper and neither was producing as well as Myers has across two minor league levels. Myers leads baseball with 24 HRs (Royals CFs have managed only one HR all season) and has by all accounts played a respectable CF in the process (a position that happens to be a gaping hole for the Royals). Eric Hosmer was promoted at age 21 after only 28 AAA games. Myers is also 21 and had played a shade over 30 games. I agree; it’s time for Dayton Moore to bite the bullet and push his team over the hump. It’s time for Myers to be recalled.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 11 months ago

You are right, it was all Harper that helped the Nats… sorry Strasburg.. you just werent the difference maker

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
3 years 11 months ago

Or Gio Gonzalez on the team

Paul
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Paul
3 years 11 months ago

Yeah, their league leading pitching staff, including four starters in the 3.00 ERA range has nothing to do with it…

melotticus
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melotticus
3 years 11 months ago

I’m on the bandwagon too. He’s ready to make an impact and there is a gaping hole in CF. I don’t even see how this is a question that needs more than half a second to answer. A 3,4,5 of Hosmer, Myers, and Moose is downright dangerous and is set for the next 5 years at least.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 11 months ago

The gaping hole at CF that you speak of, as well as this article, supposes that Lorenzo Cain, aka the gem gained back in the Grienke trade, aka the season starting CF, isnt able to return soon. Looking at the notes of his rehab, his return isnt far off.

KCEXile
Guest
KCEXile
3 years 11 months ago

Odirizzi was the “gem” of the Greinke trade.

philosofool
Member
Member
philosofool
3 years 11 months ago

My own pessimistic view is that Myers is showing something about the PCL, not something about himself, and what he is showing about the PCL is that he won’t learn anything there (except maybe somethings that he could have learned in AA.)

I’m all for calling him up, but I think he’s going to have some struggles, like most prospects transitioning from the PCL to MLB.

jon
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jon
3 years 11 months ago

In fairness, he did do this across two levels, not just the PCL, in addition to tearing up the AFL and being very good in A-ball in 2010. I’m not saying he won’t struggle, but his numbers aren’t just a product of the PCL.

STEALTH
Guest
STEALTH
3 years 11 months ago

philosofool is not saying Myers’ numbers are a product of the PCL, just that Myers’ hitting is showing us that he has nothing to gain from staying there. There’s no room for improvement there, he has maxed out his production. If his defense is deemed passable, then Myers’ next step is to be challenged at the plate. The PCL cannot provide that for many top hitters, Myers being example 1A.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 11 months ago

113 ABs in the PCL tells you everything you need to know, huh? This is the thinking that led to Buddy Bell insisting on Alex Gordon completely re-working his swing at the MLB level.

Note to Royals fans pumped about a couple wins in St. Louis: This team is not good. They lead the league in bullpen innings because for the umpteenth year in a row their starting pitching is atrocious. It is NOT their time yet. Slow the freaking roll. Stop annointing every 21 year old who has a good month in the PCL or Texas League the next messiah.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 11 months ago

why not annoint him as the messiah? seems Washington is doing just that with Harper, and Angels with Trout?

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 11 months ago

@Cidron: Dom Brown, Jason Heyward, Matt Weiters, the aforementioned Peter Bourjos, every Royals B- prospect of the past 27 years, on and on.

The point is that for every generational talent (which I don’t dispute Harper and Trout are), there are 20 guys who are either very good, championship level players even, or who just wash out altogether, but who we all know simply can’t hold a candle to a guy with the rarest of natural talent.

Outside of fanboys I have never seen anybody compare Wil Myers to generational talents (who are either identified that way when they are young, or very quickly after they are discovered [Harper, Trout]). And for the rest of those guys, it is reasonable to want to see more than 113 ABs in the PCL. Because we know that outside of selling a few tickets and merch, and providing fodder for talk radio morons, in the near term guys like Wil Myers are not going to make that much more of a contribution over an average free agent available on a one year deal.

SLCRoyalsfan
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SLCRoyalsfan
3 years 11 months ago

A lost season, 6 games out of .500 is all. A 3 game series with Houston, then the Cards, then 4 with the lowely Twins. Royals could possibly over .500 in the next 10 games? I’m not saying the Royals are going to the World Series, but seriously how happy would be as Royals fans to finsih above .500 this year. “Our time” could mean above .500, and as many years as I’ve watched that possibilty slip away in the first 2 months of season, I’d be happy as hell about that! Bring up Will “the hopeful thrill” Meyers, and let him get his shot.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 11 months ago

I say call him up. They might not win the division or squeak in the playoffs (they have a better shot than other teams with their record because of that awful division). However, if you’re a Royals fan, a .500 finish would probably be awesome. I think with Myers they can do that. They had a sort of flukey 13 game losing streak, a ton of those were by 1 or 2 runs. They aren’t as bad as their record would indicate.

Paul
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Paul
3 years 11 months ago

Their pythag has them on pace to win 72 games. That method sort of strips out SSS W-L flukiness.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 11 months ago

that’s a pace based on who they’ve already played though. If I remmber, they had a pretty tough schedule early on. Get Cain back, play a weaker schedule, maybe Hosmer gets hot, only 5 back now, I can definately seem them fighting for .500.

jim fetterolf
Guest
jim fetterolf
3 years 11 months ago

I would note that Myers is having some challenges with breaking stuff in AAA, he’s commented on that a few times. I would also note that there is a difference between Kauffman and Werner. Wil’s grand slam off poor old Roy Oswalt would have been a double at the K, bounced off the wall.

HG
Guest
HG
3 years 11 months ago

Has everyone forgotten that cain is almost healthy? The only person Myers is going to be replacing is Francour in right field. And the royals are not going to risk calling Myers up too early. Last player they called up to early was Gordon and he was terrible until last year. It doesn’t matter what you say, the royals will call myers up later than even they think they should just because of the fear of calling him up to early.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 11 months ago

exactly. Let Cain have the remainder of the season. He tore up preseason, before he tore up himself and landed on the dl. Afterall, he was the gem of the Grienke trade that the Royals recieved. Got to see his value. There is plenty of time for Myers. Gordon, Cain and Myers in the OF might be good for a long time. But, No need to rush it given that Myers does need some refining (position, as well as pitch recognition (offspeed))

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 11 months ago

heck, that OF may be as good as the last good OF of the Royals — Damon, Beltran, Dye, Ibanez

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
3 years 11 months ago

And most people would be fine with Myers replacing the struggling Frenchman in RF, so this discussion is really independent of Cain’s return.

eliasll
Member
eliasll
3 years 11 months ago

They should call him up now. You don’t call up players only when you think you have a shot to make the playoffs or win it all. The Royals might not win it all in the next 30 years. I’m a Padre fan and I know the frustration. I’m waiting for Jedd Gyorko’s call up just to see him dressed up as a major leaguer and see what hes got. You call up players when they have nothing else to prove in the minors and/or are ready to contribute in the big team. He will not learn anything new against all those washed up pitchers in the PCL. The next step is the show, even if he struggles from time to time like Hosmer.

Tom
Guest
Tom
3 years 11 months ago

I never said the Nationals’ solid play had nothing to do with their stellar pitching, that should go without saying. Washington’s strength this year has been their pitching staff. It was their lackluster offense that was was in desperate need of assistance, making Harper’s impact especially vital to the team’s having remained a playoff contender. It should also go without saying that Myers’ number are inflated by playing in the PCL. But even when you account for the lesser competition he’s as well faced in the minors, as well as the hitter-friendly parks he’s played in, Myers’ numbers (.337 BA, 24 HRs, 61 RBI, 1.127 OPS in 66 games) are still unreal. If Trout and/or Harper were still in the minors; how much better could their numbers possibly be? If Myers’ numbers don’t scream “big league ready,” than whose do? You’re right about Lorenzo Cain (aged 26); he’s a road block. As some of you have rightly mentioned; Cain was one of the minor league players traded from the Brewers in exchange for Zack Greinke, a legitimate superstar pitcher. After all; the Brewers also dealt Matt LaPorta for CC Sabathia two years earlier, and and look as what at what a gem LaPorta has turned out to be. So yeah; Cain MUST be bound for stardom. Yeah, Cain is a roadblock in the same way Peter Bourjos impeded Mike Trout’s ascension to the big leagues. A road block in the same way Roger Bernadina kept Bryce Harper off the major league roster. If only Dayton Moore had called up Myers during the same weekend when Trout and Harper were recalled (thus sparing Royals fans two cringe-worthy moths of Jarrod Dyson), the team would have picked up two or three more wins and would be a little bit closer to the division-leading White Sox (KC is currently 5.0 games back). It’s better late than never, Dayton Moore.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 11 months ago

not sayin that he is bound for stardom. But, they do have to see what he is all about? Integral piece, nice bench player, or trade bait. They have to know, so that they can value him properly if/when a team comes calling and his name comes up (as a “toss in” or the main piece). The only way to value him is to play him vs major league pitching, and in his most comfortable position.

eliasll
Member
eliasll
3 years 11 months ago

“Cain is a roadblock in the same way Peter Bourjos impeded Mike Trout’s ascension to the big leagues. A road block in the same way Roger Bernadina kept Bryce Harper off the major league roster”. AGREE 100%.
Baseball is about winning and if Myers can represent +2 WAR, then this is a no brainer.
For the ones that are against the call up:
The argument that the Royals prefer to call him next year rather than too early for the sake of this development is stupid. The super 2 status argument is even worse, as the call up does not guarantee a big payday in arbitration, if free agency is what you’re afraid of, Myers could sign a long-term deal that eliminates the cost of uncertainty of arbitration or the possibility of free agency.
The Brewers missed the playoffs by two games the year they called up Braun at the end of May. I’m not saying Myers is the next Braun, but he might as well be the difference, the cost of oppotunity is much higher than then potential savings resulting from this future contract timing [bring those savings to present value and it is close to nothing (the Myers jerseys sold over the first week will make that up)]

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 11 months ago

Problem with a long term contract is that we dont know what Myers will do at the major league level. Will he be a star, will he be a quad-A (there have been many “tore up minors, flopped at majors”). IMO, This year let the OF be as is, plus Cain (to see what HE is), call up Myers for his cup of coffee.. No need to rush him, Royals arent exactly a serious challenge for division or wc, nor will they with him on the roster. At the very least, you keep Frenchie in the OF, hopefully raising his trade value, get a few prospects for him, then call up Myers appx sept. I just dont see the need for him in the majors atm. Sure, he has nothing to prove anymore, but… why the rush to promote him?

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