Wil Myers, Keeper?

I sat at my desk during my lunch break yesterday in search of inspiration for today’s piece. On the verge of giving up and right before I was to begin doing whatever it is lawyers do I noticed Matt Klassen was chatting here at Fangraphs. I quickly scanned his chat and ran across a question that asked whether or not a fantasy owner should keep Hunter Pence or Wil Myers this off-season. The question was enough to remind that our own David Laurila interviewed Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year just two short days ago. Ah, inspiration! Myers is obviously worth owning should your league’s rules allow you to keep even one minor leaguer on your roster without penalty. But, if that’s not the case and minor leaguers are part of your entire roster pool you need to consider the following discussion.

As far as decisions about prospects go Dayton Moore jettisoning Myers in Omaha for the season was among the most frustrating to fantasy owners this year. It’s equally frustrating attempting to discern Moore’s motives. On May 15 Myers was called up to Omaha while he was sporting a 218 wRC+ with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and the Royals were just four and half games back of the division lead. At that juncture, if the right fielder’s contract was purchased and he split time in center and right field he would undoubtedly been a super-two under the new expanded system. For a mid-market team like Royals avoiding super-two status is understandably desirable.

And an argument based on that logic is reasonable, except when one considers the small fact that Dayton Moore did not employ similar logical when dealing with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. You may recall that Eric Hosmer made his debut on May 6th of last season, effectively ending the Kila Ka’aihue experiment. Due to his early call up, Hosmer is now projected to have four years of arbitration eligibility rather than three. Other wise known as super-two. On the other hand, Moustakas debuted June 10th, avoiding super-two and an extra year of arbitration. Both decisions were completely in Moore’s control. Yet, two decisions made a month apart will have significant financial implications for the club.

At this point it should clear that Moore wasn’t waiting for the super-two window elapse. If he was, the General Manager would have called up Myers when he felt the window had passed. He did not. Moreover, a call up following the super-two period would have had zero negative contractual ramifications. So why not call up Myers?

Jeff Francoeur.

Francoeur’s career saw a revival in 2011 and he was rewarded by ownership with a two year $13.5M contract. On June 20 with the Royals once again just 4.5 games back in the division and the super-two window safely in the rear-view mirror Francouer’s OPS was a meager .707. Maybe Moore wasn’t optimistic about the team’s chances or maybe he truly felt Francoeur was the better option. Either way, he opted to keep baseball’s best smile in right field and possibly their best bat in Omaha chasing storms while the team was reasonable close to a playoff spot. Through the trade deadline and wavier period Francoeur batted .188/.258/.312 and any chance of them dealing him evaporated.

So what’s the point? Clearly Dayton Moore had faith in Francoeur’s ability to repeat his 2011 season or provide some sort of intangible value to the Royals’ clubhouse. If he didn’t, he would not have extended him in the first place. There is strong belief in Kansas City that Moore still believes in Francoeur’s ability and will give him the opportunity to regain value in 2013 rather than cut the right fielder and swallow a big loss. For Myers, that could spell an indefinite stay in Omaha. Can you team afford to have one of it’s keepers toiling in Triple-A for even a month? Unlikely.

Though, it’s possible Kansas City sticks with Francoeur and shuffles their lineup to gain some desperately help on the mound. Maybe Myers starts the season with Kansas city and sees time in center, right, and third base. But as far as top prospects go, Myers future is far too unclear use a Major League keeper slot on him.

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Formerly of Bullpen Banter, JD can be followed on Twitter.

11 Responses to “Wil Myers, Keeper?”

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  1. Bob says:

    Will he be catcher eligible in the Y! game next year? That will be the deciding factor for me. Will they change his position even though he hasn’t played in the MLB yet? Not sure how that works.

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    • Big Jgke says:

      It’s always pretty hard to discern what Y! will do with players in the minors. They are rarely consistent about when they appear as addable players, or what positions they will have when they do, but they do hang on to their positions across multiple seasons.

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    • David R says:

      The first position of eligibility depends on how the player is listed on the 40-man roster. In Myers’ case, he is a right fielder (converted in 2010 from catcher/third base), so he will qualify in the outfield for 2013.

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      • David R says:

        And I say that knowing Myers is not on the 40-man roster because he doesn’t have to be listed there quite yet. The conservative approach there is one of the moves GM Dayton Moore’s made that I actually like.

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  2. Clay Zavada's Mustache says:

    Not to defend Moore, but maybe he or someone in the organization saw how Hosmer and Moustakas had panned out so far, paired that with the thought that they didn’t want yet another super-two and/or that they would let Myers marinate in the minors a bit longer and avoid some of the type of struggles Hosmer and MOOOOSE went through. And that they couldn’t realistically contend this year.

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  3. geo says:

    Uh, no, the reason Myers is staying in Omaha has nothing to do with Super Two, or even with Jeff Francoeur. The Royals have been very open about their reasoning: Myers does not have to be placed on the 40 man roster this offseason. They have around a dozen minor leaguers who do, however, plus four major leaguers on the 60-day DL who will also need to go back on the 40 man. They opted to keep Myers in the minors rather than risking losing somebody like John Lamb, for example, in the Rule 5 draft.

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    • Cliff says:

      Uh, no, actually i think you are incorrect about that. this may be the reasoning provided by the blogosphere and writers in KC, but im just about 99.9% sure that theyve said all along, that the most significant reason he was not brought up was becasuse there was simply nowhere he could play everyday. they werent going to have him lose ABs and sit on the bench for half the games while he could be playing everyday in Omaha. and frankly, looking at the Royals farm system, even if it was their 12 best prospects, which it is clearly not, they likely wont add all of them anyway.

      regardless, i actually think that there is a better chance Alex Gordon gets traded this offseason rather than Franceour. the reasoning for this is simple. they can actually get a major league ready SP or 2 for Gordon, while they will have to pay someone to take Franceour. i think the royals envision an OF of Myers, Lorenzo Cain, and possibly Dyson or another prospect/FA. Gordon is one of those players that will give you good average, well above average defense in LF, below average power, below average speed, and below average leadership skills…i think last year was an outlier for him in terms of power and speed, and therefore, the royals will want to move him while his value still remains fairly high…maybe they move him somewhere like the Reds?…for Cingrani and Mike Leake?…or maybe to the Phillies?…for Vance Worley and Trevor May?….or maybe the Yankees?…for Nova?….or how bout this dandy….they move Gordon and Paulino or Odorizzi to Texas for Andrus and Martin Perez?….then move escobar to 2B?….im not sure they are totally sold on escobar being the SS of the future anyway. the rangers will have a need in LF. just an idea though as always. another possibility could be the cards…Gordon and possibly like Lamb for Jon Jay, Trevor Rosenthal, and Lance Lynn?…

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  4. Jared Stevens says:

    Trading Alex Gordon? i would be absolutely shocked if the royals moved Gordon in the offseason. He’s clearly one of the team leaders and one of the players the royals are built on

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