What Can We Expect From Wil Myers

When the Wil Myers hype train started, he had no flaws. He walked almost as much as he struck out, he struck out less than the league average, and though he wasn’t a catcher any more, he looked athletic in the outfield, and his power was to drool for. That was probably 2010. Since, he’s been traded, and a possible flaw has emerged — his strikeout rate has increased steadily as he’s advanced. That’s not great news, but with him up today, it’s worth trying to ask the numbers what might be in store for Myers.

First, let’s refer back to a table from that great piece by Chris St. John about the predictive power of minor league strikeout and walk rates:


Since Myers has had a high walk rate at every level, he’s likely to be productive. That walk rate seems more important to his productivity than his strikeout rate, which seems fair, considering that strikeouts are up across baseball and there are plenty of productive sluggers with strikeout rates over 20%.

But for those of us in batting average leagues, the strikeout rate has been concerning for some time. And even St. John’s piece admits that high walk, high strikeout guys are likely to boom or bust. Myers started at 20.9% at his first try in Double-A, then struck out 27.6% of the time in his follow up there, 22.3% of the time in his time in Triple-A last year, and then 24.6% of the time this year in Double-A for the Rays. Across the minor leagues, his strikeout rate was 21.5%. In the high minors, though, it was 23%.

The exact strikeout rates may seem irrelevant. Perhaps he was working on something, or perhaps he’ll have a bad strikeout rate, but the exact numbers depend too much on the up-and-down nature of the level of competition in the minors. But if we want to project him, we’ll have to use some number to represent his minor league true-talent strikeout ability. Steamer used 23.5% in its projection (.249 batting average), but it used 22.4% before the season started (.254 average). ZiPs was less excited about the contact (27.9%), but since it loves his power the most (.192 isolated slugging percentage), it still produces a similar batting average (.253).

And yeah, the role of power is important. We know that Giancarlo Stanton strikes out too much, but he has enough power to turn some outs into hits, and so his batting average hasn’t been horrible so far in the major leagues. Myer’s minor league seasons — in terms of power — wouldn’t look that out of place if they were printed on Stanton’s baseball card, but Stanton’s minor league ISO (.293) dwarfs Myers’ (.222). If you’re hoping for Stanton redux, it’s probably a hope against hope.

How about some players that are currently showing Myers’ skillset in the major leagues? Let’s look for a strikeout rate above 23% and an ISO around .200. There are 39 qualified players in baseball that had a strikeout rate over 20% and an ISO that was better than league average (~.150) since the beginning of 2012. Their batting average was .262. They averaged home runs on 4.2% of their PAs, which would give Myers a chance at hitting 16+ jacks over the course of the rest of the season, while remaining at home in a group that averaged a 23.8% strikeout rate and a .207 ISO.

Let’s set the parameters tigher: Strikeout rate between 21 and 28%, ISO between .180 and .240, and walk rate above the league average. Here are some possible comps:

Adam LaRoche 901 208 43 108 130 3 10.5% 22.9% 0.223 0.296 0.262 0.336 0.484
Paul Goldschmidt 882 224 35 127 141 24 10.7% 21.8% 0.217 0.341 0.291 0.367 0.508
Todd Frazier 727 170 27 84 103 7 8.8% 22.6% 0.206 0.309 0.263 0.334 0.468
Josh Reddick 843 179 35 103 105 16 8.8% 21.5% 0.203 0.263 0.236 0.304 0.439
Ike Davis 791 148 37 82 106 0 10.1% 26.2% 0.199 0.239 0.210 0.291 0.409
Jason Heyward 839 192 32 118 94 22 9.4% 22.1% 0.194 0.300 0.257 0.333 0.451
Chase Headley 937 218 37 118 136 20 12.0% 22.5% 0.192 0.320 0.270 0.364 0.462
B.J. Upton 866 175 36 96 94 36 8.1% 28.2% 0.192 0.275 0.226 0.289 0.418
Nick Swisher 885 199 31 108 117 2 12.3% 22.5% 0.191 0.312 0.261 0.356 0.452
Dexter Fowler 811 208 23 119 79 24 12.5% 22.8% 0.180 0.380 0.300 0.392 0.481

That group has ‘succeeded’ to an extent though, and there are other batters that didn’t make the ‘qualified batter’ threshold because they struck out too much or didn’t show enough power. This group also showed a .200 ISO since the beginning of 2012. Though he’s beaten that ISO at his last three minor league stops, it’s hard to even pencil Myers in for that number as a 23-year-old rookie. That’s how you get the .249/7 rest-of-season projection from Steamer.

But even that projection is closer to 14 homers if he plays full time from here on out. Projecting anyone on the Rays for full-time work is folly, since they seem to platoon more than anyone in baseball. Seven Rays qualified for the batting title: Evan Longoria, Matt Joyce, Desmond Jennings, James Loney, Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson. They don’t always play in the same places, but that’s pretty much the infield and the outfield, leaving only catcher and DH available to Myers. Luke Scott‘s .240/.340/.388 is not going to keep Myers from playing, but it’d be a shame to see the rook DH. Most likely, the team shuttles veterans in and out of the DH role, and plays Myers in the corner outfield most days. Unfortunately, Luke Scott is a lefty and Wil Myers is a righty… and Myers’ ISO was 50 points higher against lefties on the farm. There’s a non-zero chance Myers ends up on the short end of a platoon.

Give Myers little more than a third of the DH/corner outfield at-bats from here on out, and he ends up with about 150 plate appearances, and the Steamer projection likely nails it. Give Myers all of the at-bats, and you can double the Steamer projection. Give Myers all of the at-bats, and most of his minor league power, and he could add on another three-to-four homers and a couple points in batting average.

Sounds like a risky proposition in redraft leagues. Don’t drop anyone too well-established that could hit .260+ with 18 homers the rest of the way — sounds like some things have to land right for Myers to get those numbers anyway.

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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

28 Responses to “What Can We Expect From Wil Myers”

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  1. Taylor says:

    14 team H2H pts league, keeper, but only 4 players and they cost $5 more than acquisition price annually. In 1st this year, starting Heyward, A Jones, and Aoki in 3 OF spots, Rizzo in Utility. Should I try and move Myers or keep him as a replacement for Aoki or Heyward? Steamer and Zips both project Heyward as my lowest valued OF.

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    • Cuck city says:

      Drop Hayward like a fat stack of singles at the GOLD CLUB


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      • Eno Sarris says:

        To me it’s Aoki that needs replacement pretty bad. Given his age, and all those CSes, I’m sure he’s not a points league boon.

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      • taylor says:

        Strange, Aoki grades so well in both ZIPs and STEAMER ROS. Basic scoring format, 4 pts HR, 2 for SB, 0 for CS. If you average ZIPs and STEAMER Aoki projected 227 pts ROS and Heyward 197.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        Zero points for CS is a normal points system? I’d call that strange. Even if that’s the RoS, given their ages, I’ll take Heyward RoCareer.

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      • taylor says:

        Question is what’s your take on Wil Myers in 2014? Does he have 35+ HR pop?

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      • ewing theorist says:

        love the gold club reference.

        from the 2001 trial…patrick ewing testimony: “The girls danced, started fondling me, I got aroused, they performed [sexual favors]. I hung around a little bit and talked to them, then I left.”

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      Keep Heyward over those other OFers…

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  2. pudieron89 says:

    Myers wasn’t called up to platoon. He’s gonna get consistent PT for at least the first two weeks while they see how/if he adjusts to major league pitching. Kelly Johnson will not be blocking him from LF and with Longoria’s plantar fascitis the team has been trying him at 3B. Not hard to imagine Myers getting constant PT at either corner while Joyce/Longoria/Johnson/Zobrist rotate about 3B/DH/2B/OF

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  3. Mario Mendoza says:

    Zobrist to SS, KJ back to 2B, reduce Yunel’s PT.

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    • Glorpo says:

      Yunel has been fine since May started & Zobrist was a little overextended at short when he was pressed into that role last year. The simplest answer is just limiting Scott to a first bat off the bench role.

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  4. lisfranc says:

    In a longtime roto keeper with a struggling team this year (out of contention, but a bright future), do you pick up Myers with the #1 waiver or wait it out for Taveras?

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  5. Ruki Motomiya says:

    Isn’t 10% or so around an average walk rate, or 11% or something? That doesn’t seem like he has had a high walk rate at AA or AAA…

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  6. KB says:

    I have never been one to stash prospects in the past, but after watching owners enjoy the spoils of Trout, Harper, Rizzo and others last season, I decided to give it a go with Myers this season. Now he is called up, and it appears that the “experts” couldn’t possibly be less optimistic.

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    • Kevin says:

      The problem is that Harper and Trout are generational type talents. Myers is definitely talented, but there’s a difference between being one of the best prospects in baseball at any given moment, versus one of the best prospects in baseball in the last 10-20 years.

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      • KB says:

        Totally true. You are definitely right. I’m just irrationally looking for some excitement on my fantasy team, damnit!

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  7. Funeral Crasher says:

    I know I’m being a little greedy wanting better players, but this is a competitive group with old friends, and we must destroy each other.

    I’m in a 12×13 category H2H Keeper, and we can keep as many players as we want. I have one more slot for a pitcher I can start, but I’ve stacked my bench with hitting right now.

    Xander Bogaerts, Wil Myers, Anthony Ranaudo, Dylan Bundy, Carlos Martinez, Gerrit Cole, Tyler Lyons, Nolan Arenado, Didi Gregorius, Tyler Skaggs, Billy Hamilton, Andrelton Simmons, Danny Hultzen, and Kevin Gausman are all still free agebts, and I feel inclined to add three of these prospects given my 32 game lead over my hated brethren so far. The problem is I have hard time dropping any of these guys, and I generally like to roster two catcher even though I only have to start one. That said, Timmy, KRod, Jennings, and Lucroy currently feel like my least valuable players. Would you drop any of these for a couple of the future stars? If so, who would you drop and who would you grab. My favorite prospect right now has to be Dylan Bundy because of the absurd upside, but what would you do in this scenario?

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Matt Harvey
    SP Jordan Zimmerman
    P Shelby Miller
    P Mat Latos
    P Timmy Lincecum
    P Kenley Jansen
    P Craig Kimbrel
    RP Joe Nathan
    RP Addison Reed
    RP KRod

    1B Billy Butler
    2B Dustin Pedroia
    3B Miggy Cabrera
    SS Little Elvis
    LF Alex Gordon
    CF Yoenis Cespedes
    RF Jay Bruce
    C Joe Mauer
    Util Adrian Beltre

    BN S.S. Choo
    BN Brandon Phillips
    BN Josh Hamilton
    BN Desmond Jennings
    BN Hanley Ramirez
    BN Oscar Taveras
    BN Jonathan Lucroy

    DL Carl Crawford
    DL Aaron Hill

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

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  8. Duder says:

    Would you give Myers for Carl Crawford?

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  9. Jeffrey Gross says:

    I think Nick Swisher is the perfect comp. That’s what I’ve been saying for a while, though I think he has more K% upside longterm. He could be a Chris Davis a la 2012 model perpetually (with more walks) too I think.

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