While I’m sure we’re all ready to close our eyes and hum loudly until it’s 2030, I empathize with the fact that Wil Myers was probably doing the same thing circa 2018-2019. (Same thing Padres’ fans have done for the past millennia.) And I’ll be the first one to admit, there has been many-a-thing I’ve said about Myers in my humble yet strikingly handsome past, and I would say many of those things were not positive. But I was but a small voice in a larger chorus… Okay, not that large, there are like what, a dozen Padres fans? The other dozen are here just to wear our retro browns. But yeah, while he has a beautiful head of hair, Myers’ defense (lol) is akin to a cat drowning in quicksand, and his hitting, while not seppuku-worthy, doesn’t really match his albatross of a contract that will most likely last the next 58 years or so at the tune of 28 billionty dollars a month. Something like that. So of course, this time, of all times, is when Myers has chosen to rise out of this tulmit and actually hit the ball, so shall we examine what happens when keeping Wil actually goes right…
As of this writing, Wil Myers has, in thirteen games, put up a 283/365/674 triple slash, adding four homers and 183 wRC+. So I guess it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Wil Myers thought he was seeing the ball better this season back in July. Now, if I had been paying attention in July instead of still eating leftover BBQ and realizing my mask (which you should wear) could also double as a bib while eating, local media would have provided us with the info that yeah, something might be different about this iteration of Wil Myers.
Wil Myers has frequently made hard contact and reached base in every intrasquad game he’s played in the past week.
“I feel ready,” he said.
After spending three months in Charlotte, N.C., working out at home and with other major leaguers, it seems he has picked up where he left off in spring training, patiently employing his lightning swing to catch balls deeper in the zone and go with the pitch he’s given.
“We expect him to be a tough out,” Tingler said. “He’s got a lot of skills. Hoping he sticks to his strength and his bread and butter.” – Kevin Acee, The San Diego Tribune.
No one should be blamed for Spring Training testimonials falling on deaf ears. In the best shape of his life! He looks so good! He’s quick like a cat! We’ve all heard it, seen it, and every year some players confirm these anecdotal tests (except maybe the cat one), but mostly, the majority of these proclamations prove to be just a momentary flicker. But in the quote that lay above, there’s a mini-morsel of a tidbit to analyze; Jayce Tingler mentioning the change in swing. Probably a throw-away line, but lets take a look at the numbers and see if there’s any basis…
First, let’s go over his basic profile:
Taking 2020 out of the equation for the moment, as you can see, the numbers have remained somewhat stable. There’s been a stable BB% mixed in with a K% that remained about the same in 2017 and 2018, but has upticked the past two years. His BABIP has risen for four straight seasons, something worth pointing out as well seeing as how this four-year trend is completely unique to his previous career numbers. Not surprising though that his BABIP is fueling his highest batting average (.283) since his rookie year in 2013 (.293). Also keep in mind the obvious caveats, throughout these years Myers has been managing several injuries with his wrists and some reoccurring nerve irritation.
Last, his Batted Ball data:
The easy conclusion here is that 2020 is different just based on the fact that he’s hitting more flyballs and less groundballs, amazing take, I know! Now there are two trains of thought remaining just from this breakdown, either it’s small sample size, or his has changed his swing, elevating the ball more and with power. Or it could be both if you like hedges as much as I do. (An important landscaping feature folks.)
But take a look at the this table showing where he’s hitting the ball and how hard he’s hitting it (just like I do with your mum).
It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it. Not only is Wil Myers hitting the ball the hardest he ever has, he’s doing it directly to center field. You’d assume that to generate more power, his pull percentage would either match his past career norms or outpace them, but he’s actually just straight up mashing to the longest part of the park.
Again, it’s hard to determine these trends after only 52 plate appearances, but the truth of the matter is, the season will already be about half done in a week-and-a-half, COVID willing. In this regard, we have established that at the very least, Wil Myers has tinkered with his swing during this restart, he is apparently healthy with no nagging injuries, and based on the context on his own historic numbers, dude is hot fire right now. Irregardless if this is just momentary flash in what was a middling tenure with the Friars, we just don’t have enough time in the season to ever find out for sure. But I do know that he’s on fire now, and the numbers, while revealing that yes, he is probably is just on a bit of a hot streak at the moment, there is enough of a basis here data-wise (and forgiving the fact that we are analyzing such a short season) to think that he could continue this production in a sustained manner.
It’s a little late to proclaim that Wil Myers has produced what was expected the past decade, but it’s never too early to start. Especially in a year like this, adding “Wil Myers hitting well” to the “WTF just happened in 2020” list doesn’t seem that wild. Especially when I just need robot dragons from the future with lasers to show up for my BINGO. Careful though, they will be wearing black leather and blasting Daft Punk upon their arrival…
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him @jaywrong, or read his rarely (like never) updated blog Desultory Thoughts of a Longfellow.