June 18, 2013
The Situation: Wil Myers, ranked by Baseball Prospectus as Tampa Bay’s no. 1 prospect (and no. 7 in baseball) entering this season, has received his much-anticipated MLB call-up. Although Myers appeared to be near big-league ready after mashing in Triple-A last season, the Rays sent him back to the minor leagues in mid-March, citing adjustments needed both offensively and in right field while likely keeping a watchful eye on this year’s “super two” arbitration window. That window has since passed, and Myers has recently caught fire at the plate, leading to Tuesday’s call-up. The top prospect will look to bolster Tampa Bay’s already strong offense in the midst of a tight American League East race.
Background: Drafted by Kansas City as a catcher in 2009, Myers spent two summers behind the dish before his advanced bat enabled him to fly through the lower minors. After the former third-round pick hit .315/.429/.506 between the Low- and High-A levels in 2010, the Royals chose to accelerate his developmental timetable by scrapping his still-raw catching and moving him into the outfield. Myers has since spent time at all three outfield spots but this year has settled in as a right fielder, where he profiles long term. He continued to mash upper-level pitching in 2012, hitting .314/.378/.600 with 37 home runs between Double- and Triple-A. Although Myers got out to a slow start (by his standards) this season, he’s batting .286 through 64 games and has a .339/.377/.696 slash line this month.
Scouting Report: Projecting as a first-division regular in right field, Myers has a polished offensive skill set that should yield immediate results. Of course, there’s always the standard adjustment curve for young hitters. Major-league pitchers will eventually find and exploit his weaknesses, and he’ll have to make the adjustment. However, Myers has shown a high aptitude and feel for hitting throughout the minors, and there’s no reason to think he won’t have at least some level of initial success.
The 22-year-old prospect is a good athlete with a plus arm; he should become an above-average corner outfielder with further development, though he’s still relatively new to right field and has room to improve his route running. At the plate, Myers flashes an easy potential 60-grade hit tool with plus raw power. There is some whiff in his game, as shown in this year’s 25 percent K rate in Triple-A. Those holes may be exploited to an extent by big-league pitching this summer, but they aren’t extreme, and his K rate has improved of late. At its peak, this should be a true middle-of-the-order bat that produces a .285-plus average with some on-base skills and 25-plus home runs.
Immediate Big-League Future: The Rays aren’t calling up Myers to ride the pine. He should become an immediate fixture in Joe Maddon’s lineup, helping to solidify one of the better offenses in the American League. —Jason Cole
Fantasy Impact: This is one of the fun ones. The ones that make you drop whatever you're doing and run to the waiver wire of all of your leagues to see if he's somehow unowned. If you've been a reader of The Stash List, you hopefully owned Myers already, as he's been the no. 1 prospect for both of the last two weeks, despite the lingering talk of the Rays "not having had internal discussions about bringing him up" and "having him work on his base running and defense." In fact, Myers was more than 50 percent owned even before the news of his call-up broke.
The expectations are going to be very high, especially as Myers is someone who's been known as a prospect in more casual baseball circles for a while. The trade market for Myers is going to be very, very hot this week and will swing wildly based on whatever he's doing in his first couple of games. As I've talked about with previous high-hype call-ups, this is something that savvy fantasy owners can take advantage of. Myers is unlikely to set the world on fire in 2013 (or maybe ever, depending on what you think his ultimate ceiling is), so keeping your finger off the EVERYBODY FREAK OUT button is of the utmost importance. We all know what he's done lately in Triple-A (.347 with 10 homers, 32 RBI, and five steals in his last 95 at-bats), and it is very exciting, but there's a price for everyone.
In mixed leagues and keeper/dynasty formats where you can pick up players ahead of being promoted to the majors, Myers surely has been owned for weeks (if not months) at this point. In leagues where that's not the case, this is one of the guys worth burning your no. 1 waiver priority on. In AL-only leagues, the combination of talent and playing time will make Myers worth burning around 50 percent of your remaining budget, unless you've been very frugal all year and have nearly all of your FAAB remaining. If I had $60 left, I wouldn't hesitate to throw a $30 bid on him, and likely would be willing to go higher if I had a need at OF. For the remainder of the season, I think it's reasonable to expect Myers to hit .260 with 12-15 homers, 5-8 steals, and good counting stats, given around 350 at-bats. —Bret Sayre
Jason Cole is an author of Baseball Prospectus.