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:

Year BB% K% ISO BABIP
2017 10.8 27.7 0.220 0.297
2018 8.7 27.4 0.192 0.327
2019 10.4 34.3 0.179 0.344
2020 9.6 34.6 0.391 0.375

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:

Season GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB
2017 0.88 19.60% 37.50% 42.90% 17.90%
2018 1.51 27.50% 43.60% 28.90% 17.50%
2019 1.23 21.80% 43.10% 35.10% 19.60%
2020 0.57 21.40% 28.60% 50.00% 28.60%

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).

Season Pull% Cent% Oppo% Soft% Med% Hard%
2017 42.40% 36.80% 20.80% 19.50% 39.10% 41.40%
2018 50.20% 33.30% 16.40% 12.30% 41.10% 46.60%
2019 46.50% 32.00% 21.60% 17.50% 35.30% 47.20%
2020 35.70% 46.40% 17.90% 17.90% 25.00% 57.10%

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.

 
  1. SwaggerJackers says:
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    All hail King Myers! He’s back.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      We can only hope!

  2. jwp15102 says:
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    Good article. Crazy question for you. I two choices soon to be suspended Ramon Laureano or not yet playing Yordan Alvarez. Who should I start this week?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      I’d say maybe Alvarez, though playing with fire on both as you say…

  3. JD Hassett

    JD Hassett says:
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    Will Myers or Byron Buxton ROS

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      Tough one. I am trying to remove the bias, but I still want to say Myers just to see how long this fire lasts.

  4. glen says:
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    You can shove your mask comment right up your ass. Your baseball opinions are great, leave it at that

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      Or what?

      Door’s on your left, I don’t associate myself with selfish fools.

  5. Harley Earl says:
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    I always find it amazing how guys like you and Grey find ways to hate on my boy Wil Myers even when you’re supposedly bragging on him.

    First, let me say this, I own Wil Myers on every fantasy team I have, which is three. If I had six teams, he’d be on all six. Ten, then it would be ten. You get the picture.

    Myers has had some strange things occur throughout his career. Mostly, injuries have derailed a couple of seasons. Next, an asshole manager named Andy Green got sideways with Will and basically refused to play him.

    One thing I want you to do is look at Wil Myers’ numbers last year and compare them with teammate Eric Hosmer. No, on second thought, I’ll do it for you.

    Myers: 18 HR, 53 RBIs, 16 SB, .321 on-base pct in 435 at-bats
    Hosmer: 22 HR, 99 RBIs, 0 SB, .310 on-base pct in 619 at-bats

    The stat lines are basically identical minus Wil’s speed advantage. Yes, Hosmer has a lot more RBIs, but he also had 184 more at-bats and a much better place in the batting order. In fact if you pro-rate Wil’s stats out, he would have easily been a 30-30 guy last year had he played full time. But Andy Green was too buys screwing with him to realize Wil was better than his beloved Hosmer.

    Next, look at Myers’ 2016 and 2017 seasons. He had 28 HR and 20 SB in 2016 and 30 HR and 28 SB in 2017. He was injured in 2019 and Andy Green was being a bitch to him in 2019.

    All Wil really needed was good health and a manager that would allow him to play his game without fear of retribution. It’s really not that complicated. It really is that simple.

    You guys should get off the hate train and join me on the Wil Myers love boat. It’s a helluva lot more fun.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      I believe this post is a start, and quite frankly, I’ve been a Padres fan for over 30 years. I appreciate your knowledge here, but I think we’re sorta saying the same thing…

      • Harley Earl says:
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        I’ll buy that. I hope he keeps it up now!

        I do appreciate you writing about Wil. Grey just hates on him everytime Wil does something, calls him the league MVP and shit. Not sure why. Guess he’s just pissed he’s got that sorry ass Pete Alonso or maybe he’ just mad because Travis Shaw wasn’t the MVP like he picked him to be last year.

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