Myers Tries To Bounce Back After Subpar Season

KANSAS CITY—After rocketing through his first two minor league seasons, Wil Myers had a new challenge to overcome in 2011: failure.

Myers struggled to hit .254/.353/.393 last season in 354 at-bats with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He had entered the season as the Royals' No. 2 prospect after hitting .324 with 44 doubles, 19 home runs and 101 RBIs in Class A in 2010.

"It was not really disappointing," Myers said. "I learned a lot. I definitely learned to deal with failure. All in all it was a good year for me."

Part of Myers' declining numbers could be attributed to a left knee injury in an off-the-field accident when he fell in the rain. Two stitches and four staples were required on the cut. After a few games he returned, but then he needed surgery to deal with a staph infection.

"I missed like a month," said Myers, 21. "I started feeling good at the plate right before that, but the knee injury threw it all off."

Myers' redemption came in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .360/.481/.674 in 86 at-bats for Peoria. His 1.156 OPS ranked third in the league. He ranked second in on-base percentage and tied for the league lead with 20 walks.

"He was a man on a mission," outfield instructor Rusty Kuntz said. "He was the first on the field and took batting practice with a purpose. This summer was the first time he has experienced failure on the baseball field."

Myers, a 2009 third-round pick out of high school in High Point, N.C., showed more confidence at the plate in the AFL. "I wasn't over-thinking things like I did in the summer," Myers said.

Myers also moved from catcher to the outfield last season.

"He's improved leaps and bounds in the outfield," Kuntz said.

Said Myers, "I struggled early on, but it's coming good. The toughest thing is staying in the game, not getting bored."


• The Royals acquired lefthander Brooks Pounders, the 53rd overall selection in the 2009 draft, and infielder Diego Goris, who has a .302 average in four minor league seasons, from the Pirates in a trade for infielder Yamaico Navarro. Goris and Pounders, who was 5-5, 3.68 for low Class A West Virginia last season, are both 21.

• The Royals selected lefthander Thomas Melgarejo from the Dodgers in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft. Melgarejo was 4-2, 3.55 last season in 49 relief appearances in the Mexican League.