Twitter Mailbag: Wil Myers Is Who We Thought He Was (Or Is He?)

Hey, another twitter mailbag. Thank you twitter.

In this type of scenario, I’m inclined to just say, hey, Wil Myers is what the overall numbers say he is. So far, in his career, Myers has a 110 wRC+. This year it’s 108. In 2015 and 2016 it was 115. So, he’s like a 110-115 wRC+ guy going forward, which is fine but not great for a first baseman.

However, with Myers, I still hold out some hope for more. And let’s be honest, we all want to be optimists at heart, drinking our water from glasses that are always half full.

Optimist point No. 1: Myers is just 26 years old. A solid player suddenly reaching new heights in his late 20s is far from unheard of; just of the top of my head, there are guys like Jose Bautista and Eric Thames that jump off the page. Bautista, for example, went from a below average hitter to one of the best hitters in the America League for a few years, right at age 29. It’d be silly to count on that from Myers, or anybody, but there’s always a chance things just suddenly click.

Optimist point No. 2: I still think it’d be worth looking into revamping his swing in the offseason. If it was working, fine, go with it. But there’s no good reason his swing has to look like that, especially when he’s hitting at a level below what both he and the Padres probably expect. It might be somewhat risky, but it’s possible that even just a swing tweak could set Myers on the right path.

Short answer: He’s probably something like what we’ve seen, but breakout potential exists. I’ll say he’s able to jump his wRC+ into the 120s or 130s, at least, for a few years here.

Yep. It’s mostly just a volatility thing. Relievers are volatile, for multiple reasons, and any significant decline from Brad Hand is going to ding his value big time.

Some players are essentially decline-proof. If, I don’t know, Bryce Harper has a down year (or gets injured) before he hits free agency, and puts up a .780 OPS with bad fielding numbers, he’s still going to sign for a ton of money. Maybe he takes a small hit, but it’s a small hit. Most players aren’t decline-proof. If Brad Hand loses five percent on his strikeout rate and a run and a half off his ERA, his trade value will disappear faster than his slider.

There’s good reason to expect Hand to continue to perform well, but it’s still a risky proposition. Anything goes wrong—a slight downtick in performance, an injury—and the Padres would lose out on a marquee prospect or two headed their way. If, for whatever reason, there really isn’t a market for Hand, sure, I’d hold on to him. Overall, though, assuming there are some fair deals out there, it’s time to cash in.

These aren’t all crazy sleepers, by any means, but I’ll go with Fernando Tatis Jr., Joey Lucchesi, Chris Paddack (sorry, Marver), Luis Campusano, and Adrian De Horta.

I know Tatis is a household name now, but he’s still usually ranked like 4-6 in the Padres system by most. In my mind, he’s been No. 1 or No. 2 since like April, and I’ve had him as the clear No. 1 since, I don’t know, the middle of May. He’ll be a consensus top 10 prospect in all of baseball within a year.

I’m always a sucker for good performance, so I like both Lucchesi and Paddack. We couldn’t even fit Paddack on our top 20 from last week, but if he returns healthy from Tommy John he’s going to shoot right back up the rankings. It might be easy to forget how good he was last year. As a 20-year-old in Single-A, he struck out 71 in 42 1/3 innings, with just five walks, two home runs, and a 0.85 ERA. The stuff doesn’t quite live up to the performance (would anyone’s?), but there’s a lot to like here. Same thing with Lucchesi, who dominated High-A and has held his own at Double-A this year, despite a big dip in strikeout percentage after the promotion. Still, his K:BB ratio is 4.5 in 24 2/3 innings at San Antonio.

I really just like Campusano for a couple video clips of swings I saw. Looks like there’s a ton of raw power there, and that’s exciting anytime it comes from a catcher. The reports (and results) on his bat from the AZL have been pretty good, but there are big questions about the defense. Should be a fun guy to follow either way.

I saw De Horta earlier this season in-person, so there’s some sentimental attachment. But I was impressed by how comfortable he was in going to his curveball at any time, and even more so with how many swings and misses he got with the pitch. He feels like a guy who could benefit from just throwing a breaking pitch 30 or 40 percent of the time, because the fastball didn’t look special. He’s had an up and down career, but he’s been rolling of late since a promotion to Lake Elsinore. Last time out he had his finest start of the year, striking out nine and walking just one in five innings. Overall he’s whiffed 32 and walked five in 25 1/3 innings at High-A this season.

Nah, just because they don’t have to, and the dude has tools. From a developmental standpoint, I think it’s fair to say he’s had a bad year. In his second run through the hitter-friendly Cal League, his strikeout rate has gone in the wrong direction, from 28.3 percent last year to 35.5 percent this year. That’s concerning, for obvious reasons. He’s a year older, he’s already had experience with the level, and whiffs are his main weakness. The fact that they’ve gone up, in 363 plate appearance, is kind of scary. And it’s not like other aspects of his game have taken off. The walk rate is up just a tick, and the power has remained mostly stagnant, and not that great.

All that said, he’s 21, with good raw power, plenty of speed, defensive value, etc. There’s no reason to let go yet, or really even consider it.

It was a long time ago, but I traded Hand to 29 teams back in June. I still have the Astros as the favorite, but that’s just a semi-educated guess. If he goes to Houston, I’ll say it’s for Forrest Whitley and a shortstop, either Freudis Nova or Miguelangel Sierra, though Whitley by himself could be plenty. Sierra’s predictably struggled as a 19-year-old in the pitcher (and college) friendly New York-Penn League, so maybe he comes cheaper than expected.

I suggested Carlos Asuaje or Cory Spangenberg at short last week, so I’m not one to talk, but I think Solarte’s too much of a stretch. He did get some run at shortstop back in 2013, at Triple-A, but those legs were four years younger. Coming off the oblique injury, with numbers that say he’s just so-so at second or third, it feels like too aggressive of an experiment. I like the idea, in general, though, to try something off the wall in a down season.

By the way, on the topic of shortstops for the rest of the season, last week I neglected to mention Allen Cordoba as a potential (and obvious) option. His offense has nosedived, as expected, with more playing time, but he made a tremendous defensive play on Wednesday night. I worry some about Cordoba getting exposed more with the bat, but he’s still held his own this season considering the circumstances. He’s going to stick on the roster and he’s going to play sometimes, so I’d like to see more of him at short.

I’m going to disappoint you right off the bat here, David. I don’t think I’ve seen any of the Death Wish movies.

That won’t stop me from questioning your Death Wish II support based on its Rotten Tomatoes rating, Roger Ebert’s scathing review, in which he had to explain giving it no stars (“I award “no stars” only to movies that are artistically inept and morally repugnant”), and the idea that sequels are rarely better than the original.

I understand this is probably not the right answer, but I was always a big fan of Manny Ramirez‘s full pants, which I believe he actually tucked underneath the bottom of his shoes at various points in his career. As a player, when I had a choice, I either went with high socks or low pants, as stirrups always annoyed me. Stirrups might look the best with the right uniform, though, like *cough* the Padres brown and yellow ones.

I’m not sure I really answered the question.

The next section is the life advice section, which also could have a NSFW question. Please tread carefully.

Yes, if possible. But the good thing about writing is that it’s one of the few things you can consistently get better at as you age. There really aren’t any sports where you can do that, not even golf or tennis or bowling. Shoot, most anything we do we’re better at when we’re young. Not writing, though. Sure, maybe we lose a little memory or a little sharpness as we age, but we compensate with more knowledge, experience, and confidence. At this rate, I’m hoping to write the perfect baseball article by the time I’m 95.

Look, I’ve done the research. If you decide to go through with this, make sure you get the right Nair product. But I wouldn’t go through with it. There are too many potential risks, not enough upside. Consider alternatives.

You are encouraged to comment using an exisitng Twitter, Facebook, or Google account. Upvote comments you find helpful, and only downvote comments that do not belong. The downvote is not a 'disagree' button.

  • GT500KR

    Wish I hadn’t clicked that Myers BRef link. Strikeouts don’t usually bother me, but that’s a disturbing trend, if we can call 99 games a trend. Agree that he’s got the potential to bust out. He’s young enough that the speed he showed last year should still be in there somewhere. What worries me more is the regression in baserunning and defense. You’re an athletic guy, Wil, and it’s first damn base.

    Hand for Forest Whitley? Yes, please. Add one of the SS kids or not.

    • Maybe I’m a little aggressive with Whitley, but I think some team’s going to pay up in the end, especially if Hand keeps pitching like he is right now.

  • caldo

    How do you explain the reported more-than-passing interest from A.J. in Sonny Gray? Is he going to flip him somehow or could he conceivably be good when the Pads are next good?

    • Well, he’s only signed through 2019, so that makes it sorta tough for him to be on the next really good Padres team. I do think there’s a chance 2019 is the year where the Padres really start to turn it around, so we’ll see. More than likely, though, it’d be for an eventual flip.

      If the asking price is low-ish (or if the A’s are into some prospects the Padres aren’t as high on), I think it’d make sense. Gray is that good. If it’d take a really big haul of prospects to get him, then I’d definitely pass, since it doesn’t really fit the greater plan.

  • Bielsa Widow

    Didn’t Myers tweak his swing last offseason? I assume that’s part of the reason why his contact numbers have plummeted and K% has shot up.

    • ballybunion

      He tweaked it before the 2016 season. He’s not as selective as he was in ’16, swinging at bad pitches more. He’s also not aggressive on the basepaths, and has played poor, distracted defense this year too. It sounds like an overall concentration problem. I’d recommend the Vulcan Mind Fusion, but Leonard Nimoy is dead.