Tampa Bay Rays Should Promote Wil Myers (Guest Post from Matt Musico)

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays-Photo DayOnce the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals agreed on their blockbuster trade over the winter, there has been a debate as to when the Rays would promote Wil Myers to the major leagues. The 22-year-old outfielder drew plenty of interest from potential trade partners before he finally got dealt in exchange for James Shields (among others), as he’ll likely be a cornerstone player with Evan Longoria for the Rays offense through the rest of the decade. Understandably so, Tampa Bay wants to delay his debut as much as possible in order to gain another year of team control, while also preventing potential super-two status.

However, for a team that has struggled to an 8-10 start and are currently sitting in fourth place in the American League East, they should seriously consider promoting Myers from Triple-A Durham real soon. Joe Maddon’s club has put together a triple slash of .228/.302/.361 through 18 games, which ranks among one of the worst in baseball. When I see their lineup consist of players like Jose Molina, Kelly Johnson, Matt Joyce, and Shelley Duncan, “offensive juggernaut” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
What could Myers bring to the lineup? He can do exactly what Bryce Harper and Mike Trout did for the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, respectively. Both teams were having a hard time getting their offense going at this time in 2012, and they needed a spark. Once they were promoted and inserted into the starting lineups on a nightly basis, the dynamic shifted, and they helped kick-start their respective offenses. It gave each team some life with their youthful energy, and immediate dividends in the win column thanks to their All-Star caliber type play.
Throughout his five minor league seasons, Myers has shown his ability to hit (career line of .303/.395/.519), but it wasn’t until 2012 when we started to see the type of ceiling he has when it comes to his power potential. In 522 at-bats between Kansas City’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, Myers hit 37 home runs, drove in 109 more, scored 98 times, while drawing 61 walks.
When I think of the potential Myers has for his big league career, the first person I compare him to is Giancarlo Stanton. Now, that may or may not be fair because of Stanton’s physical attributes, but his 2008 season with Single-A Greensboro mirrors what Myers did in 2012 (.293/.381/.611, 39 HR, 97 RBI, 89 Runs scored in 468 ABs). Only difference here is that Stanton was busy mashing off of Single-A pitchers, most of which would never make it to the majors. Myers was producing at the same rate, but against a higher level of competition.
There’s no guarantee that promoting Myers will help turn the Rays’ season around, but it certainly can’t hurt. His arrival can be used as a marketing ploy to lure out a couple more fans to Tropicana Field (even though it likely won’t help a lot, unfortunately), and giving Evan Longoria some legitimate protection in the lineup is never a bad thing, either. I understand the organization’s reasoning for keeping him in the minors when you look at the business side of things; they are the type of franchise that continually has to build from within because they don’t have the financial means to compete with big market teams. With that in mind, this could very well be the last year David Price dons a Rays uniform because he’ll quickly be out of their price range.
So, it would behoove Rays management to promote Myers now to reap the potential benefits of winning and possibly snagging a playoff spot. Through 56 at-bats in Durham, he’s hitting .304/.406/.429; he’s ready for the big stage. Hopefully, his arrival will bring the other Tampa bats to life, while also putting some more butts in the seats of Tropicana Field.
Matt Musico’s opinion has been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, MetsBlog, Amazin’ Avenue and Rising Apple. He provides his opinion on the New York Mets as a contributor to Yahoo! Sports. His analysis and opinion on the rest of Major League Baseball appear at his personal blog, On The Way Home.

Categories: American League Happenings

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