The Royals are in the World Series, and it’s going to be mentioned at some point that the organization moved a big prospect in Wil Myers to acquire two of the pieces that brought them so much success this year. Last season, it looked like the Rays were going to be the ones that ran away with the trade. Myers won Rookie of the Year. He hit .293/.354/.478 with 13 homers and drove in 53 runs in just over half a season. At 23, he came into 2014 with high expectations and a high preseason rank on most fantasy sites. Then they actually played the 2014 season. Myers ended up playing only 87 games thanks to a wrist fracture, and when he was on the field he looked lost at the plate. So what can we expect from the young Rays’ outfielder going forward in keeper leagues?
If you’ve been following the posts, I don’t put much stock in keeper rankings. They are kind of like the male nipple of fantasy rankings. If you don’t have them it looks odd. But their real purpose is questionable. So it was only to satisfy my own morbid curiosity that I checked out the 2015 keeper rankings from ESPN to see where they had Myers. He’s at 113, behind players like Mat Latos and David Wright. Male nipples. He’s still a top 75 keeper in my mind. The injury doesn’t change that.
The bad news is that keeper owners basically lost an entire year of production from Myers. The good news – there were obvious reasons for his struggle besides just the dreaded sophomore slump. While Myers was still shelved with his wrist injury in July, Bill Chastain of MLB.com wrote about how the downtime was testing Myers’s patience. In that article he mentioned this interesting tidbit: “If there is a bright side to Myers’ injury, it is the fact that the time off has allowed his left hand to heal. Myers injured the hand while sliding in the sixth game of the season and never quite felt right, which could be seen as being a factor in the numbers he had accrued — a .227/.313/.354 slash line, five homers, 25 RBIs — by the time he went on the disabled list.” Knowing how wrist injuries of any kind can have a big impact on hitters, it’s worth noting that Myers wasn’t healthy from basically the sixth game of the 2014 season on.
Moving forward, it’s fair to project Myers for basically the same numbers we did coming into 2014. He consistently hit for both power and average in the minor leagues and the ISO that he posted in 2014 will end up looking like an outlier. Steamer is projecting 21 homers and 75 RBI, but I”m higher on the rebound and think he’ll be closer to a 25 homer/90 RBI performer. He’ll turn 24 this December and barring further injuries, he’s going to be entering his prime years for fantasy production over the next 3 years. There are going to be some 30+ homer seasons down the road. From a fantasy perspective, we have to mention his ability to contribute steals in addition to the power. We don’t run with our wrists, and in 2014 Myers threw in one more steal than he had in his rookie season. For at least the next year or two, we could see 10-steal seasons from him. Ask about Myers this offseason in keeper leagues before he gets back on the field at 100%.