Monday, September 20, 2010

Wil Myers, The Next Carlos Santana?

Once again with the season winding down, Royals fans have little left to follow. One thing they can look forward to however is the play of Wil Myers. The raw but extremely talented Myers was drafted in the third round by the Royals who went above slot to sign the talented youngster who was considered on of the more intriguing high school bats in the '09 draft class.

The Royals got Myers' feet wet in 2009, sending him to the rookie leagues where he posted impressive numbers in a small 22 game sampling of things to come. They then opened him up at Low-A Burlington to open 2010. I tend to think that's awfully aggressive, but the Royals are known for pushing young bats they like pretty hard. He didn't disappoint as he posted a .908 OPS in 68 games there before a mid-season promotion to High-A Wilmington of the Carolina League. In a league where the average OPS for 2010 was just around .725, the 19 year old Myers posted a .966 mark in 58 games on the back of a .345 batting average.

Myers' average in High-A was aided by an unsustainably high BABIP, but there is a lot to like going forward in the peripherals. Registering 94 strikeouts in 447 at-bats, Myers does strikeout more than you'd like to see, but given that he was a 19 year old playing against guys usually at least 2-3 years his senior, that's far from concerning at this point. Extremely encouraging was his walk rate as he drew 85 free passes over the same period. The home run numbers don't exactly leap off the page - just 14 in 447 at-bats, but again, given the age and level, that's a very impressive number. In addition Myers showed he can run at least a little bit, registering three triples and twelve steals.

Defensively, the questions that plagued Myers out high school remain. Saying that of course should come as no surprise what-so-ever. He's in his first full year of catching and he's going to need a few more years to really develop that aspect of his game. That is of course, if it ever does develop. Not every catcher works out - indeed, many don't. But we won't have an answer to that question for at least a couple more years. Concerning ourselves too much with it now hardly seems worthwhile.

The exciting part to me is when you start playing the comparison game. And, as the title of this post no doubt suggests, I'm referring to the Indians Carlos Santana. Santana, a catching transplant didn't even get his first whiff of pro-ball until age 20. But at age 22 at High-A posted similarly eye-popping numbers with nearly identical strikeout and walk rates.

Making such simple comparisons is foolhardy - but it's fun. In this case, given that Myers is two years junior to where Santana was after exploding onto the scene in 2008, one can at least begin to build some dreams on the youngster. And in a city that has suffered so much for the past 25 years, dreams are a good thing. Especially when they come wrapped up in a talented young catcher.

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