Royals' Myers May Be Playing Way To Triple-A
Wil Myers' home run binge eventually is going to earn him a spot in Triple-A Omaha, and it appears that time may be sooner than later.
"He's done what he hoped and exceeded expectations," said Royals assistant general manager for scouting and player development J.J. Picollo. "He's in line to get to Triple-A some time in the near future."
Picollo said that the Royals know that Myers will be ready for Omaha soon, and they'll even be discussing whether he's ready this week. And when he comes up, he'll likely continue to play center field.
What started out as an experiment may turn into a home for the former catcher. In the past, the Royals have compared Myers to Dale Murphy, another former catcher, and even after he played poorly as a corner outfielder last year, the Royals believed that Myers had the tools to be a solid center fielder.
They moved him to center for a couple of games early in the season, but on April 26, the Royals moved him to center for good. With right fielder Jeff Francouer signed through 2013 and left fielder Alex Gordon locked up through 2015, center field could be Myers' quickest path to Kansas City.
"We're committed to it," Picollo said. "I'm not going to say long-term but for the short-term at least. The indications now are he can do it. Because he's not a 70 or 80 runner, you think no, he can't play center field in Kauffman, but he's made two great catches recently, one to his right and one to his left. There are indications that he can do it."
According to Picollo, Myers has gotten better jumps on balls since moving to center.
"The reads are easier. He's getting great jumps and covering plenty of ground," Picollo said. "He's making the above-average play. He's having more fun playing center field because he's feeling more responsible as the captain of the outfield."
At the plate, there are few things to complain about. Myers has hit safely in all but one of the Naturals' 29 games this year, and he's homered in five of his past six games. According to Picollo, Myers' hard-hit ball rate is just under 40 percent.
The only quibble is that his strikeout rate is up, but when a hitter is hitting as well as Myers, the Royals say they aren't concerned. Myers is driving the ball so well that with two strikes, he's still looking for extra-bases rather than shortening up his swing.
"I personally think he just feels so good right now that he's not afraid to get to two strikes," Picollo said "He's not making a two-strike adjustment. We think it's extreme confidence."
Another Royals center fielder, 2011 first-round pick Bubba Starling, continues to work at extended spring training in Arizona. He has made some adjustments to his stance and his swing, but up to now, he's yet to have the kind of week that makes the Royals' believe he's played his way to the low Class A Midwest League.
"He gets these two-to-three game stretches where it's very good then he has a game where he scuffles a bit," Picollo said. "We're still evaluating (promoting him to full-season ball). We like the work that he's doing so we don't
want to jump the gun. We'd like to see a sustained 30 at-bat stretch.
We're not there yet, but it's a weekly
Picollo said that Starling looks much more comfortable in his batting stance now, and he has made an adjustment to generate his load more with his hands and less with his upper body.