Unless Wil Myers can replace David Price in the rotation or overpower hitters in a bullpen role, he's probably not the player that the Rays need right now to get their season on track. But that doesn't mean he won't try.
On Tuesday, the Triple-A Durham Bulls were trailing 8-6 after the top of the 7th when Myers took over. Myers drilled a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning described as one of the longest ever hit at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. But Myers was not done. In the 9th, Myers came through with a game-tying two-run shot to set up a 9-8 Bulls win on a Tim Beckham walk-off single.
Myers has never looked better this season than in yesterday's game, but it's only the next development in his recent hot streak. In his last six games, Myers hasn't walked, but that's about the only fault you can find with him. He's hit in each of those six games and collected multiple hits in the last four. Overall, he's hitting .393 (11 for 28) with five home runs, three doubles, and 15 RBI over the course of the streak. His slugging percentage has been 1.036–most of baseball wishes that would be their OPS during a hot streak.
It's only six games, but Myers has suddenly turned his entire season around , looking exactly like the player the Rays knew they acquired in the James Shields trade. No matter how well Myers plays over the next few weeks, he won't be in the major leagues until the Super Two deadline passes in mid-June. However, that may work out perfectly as the Rays will give Myers plenty of time to continue building confidence and the opportunity to come to the majors not as a savior but as just another one of the guys. This Rays offense is clicking on all cylinders, and with Myers joining the fold, it may only get better.
This hot streak of course begs the question why Myers struggled so much to begin with. Myers talked to MiLB.com Robert's Emrich about what happened.
Typically, a slumping player tries to identify what's not working at the plate. In Myers' case, there were no adjustments to be made, creating a slightly more troublesome experience.
"It was a little frustrating for me, not feeling bad at the plate, just not getting the results," he said. "It was just something that I knew was going to come. I wasn't worried too much."
Much has been made of Myers' propensity to strike out since the start of last season and hearing that he never really made any adjustments may not be considered the greatest news. At the same time, though, Myers hit 37 home runs last season and maybe all he needed to get on the same track for this year was to stay calm amidst his early slump and not try too hard to change something that doesn't need fixing. Once he arrives in the major leagues, however, Myers will have to make adjustments, and hopefully he's ready for that when the time arrives.
Here are your links for today:
- Josh Sale is in trouble again after a post from his Facebook account talked about "throwing change at a stripper." You have to hope that his account was hacked, but the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays will have an announcement about Sale today and that doesn't sound good.
- Jake Odorizzi has been sent down to the minor leagues and the Rays will make a corresponding move for a bullpen arm today. The Rays twittersphere has apparently reasoned out that Jeff Beliveau will be the call-up. It will be interesting to see who starts on Saturday, with Chris Archer an option to start against the team that drafted him.
- Suddenly Derek Shelton looks smart. Never thought we'd say that.
- Steve Saude of Fangraphs did a probability-intensive piece about the likelihood of a player hitting for the cycle. The answer? About once every 23,000 games, but much higher for Mike Trout. Carl Crawford was deemed the fifth-most likely player in baseball to hit for the cycle.
- Bradley Woodrum on Fangraphs looked at MLB offenses using a luck-regressed model. Don't worry–this Rays offense ranks either third or sixth in baseball even after accounting for luck.