Looking at the successes he had in 2016, Wil Myers believes he can be the next 30-30 player. It’s a mark of excellence that solidifies a name in the pages of baseball history. Myers has the tools to make it happen.
Hitting 30 home runs in a season is incredible. Stealing 30 bases in a season is also a nice conversation piece. The type of player to do one or the other rarely has the ability to do both. The players who have done so are names kids will idolize for years to come, even if the hero’s days are long gone. The past offers names like Vladimir Guerrero and Jeff Bagwell. The present includes a guy named Mike Trout, and the San Diego Padres’ Wil Myers in due time.
It almost happened for the now full-time first baseman last season. He finished with a 28-28 mark, and would have certainly finished it off if not for swiping just six bags in the first two months of 2016. Hitting four total home runs between the months of May and July didn’t improve his case. A couple of slow months were what stood in his way from becoming the first 30-30 player for the San Diego Padres franchise.
Wil Myers is feeling great with 2017 now underway. He has not skipped a beat since 2016. The West Coast star has accumulated 0.7 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs, in just 12 games. Myers is confident enough that he believes he could even best the 40-40 mark. When asked by Dennis Lin of the San Diego Tribune, Myers believed full well this is a performance he is capable and driven enough to chase.
“I just thought to myself, ‘Why not set the bar very high for myself and give me that high goal I want to shoot for?'” Myers said after arriving in camp Thursday. “I think it’s something that definitely can be done. Obviously, that’s the highest peak, but something I’m shooting for. I’d like to see if I can accomplish it.”
Those who have doubt in his case for the feat are quick to look at his first three years and dismiss the idea. Yes, he never bested the 13 home runs in his 2013 rookie season. It’s true his best stolen base total for a season was six in 2014. He only hit .222 that season anyway. Keep dreaming, they said.
But last year was different. It was his first healthy season. It was also the first time the former third-rounder realized he had a job to do, and he owed it to his teammates to show up to work. After three years of play without topping 88 games, he was told by former teammate James Shields it’s time to step up.
“Out of high school, I signed for $2 million,” Myers said. “I was a bonus baby. When I was in the minor leagues, if something was bothering me, it was just like, ‘OK, take a day.’ That’s the way I came up. That’s the way I thought you played the game.
He put in the hours, and it got him here. It got him to this 2017 campaign that is showing the league he can meet his goals. Myers is currently at a .375/.392/.750 slash with three home runs. Three knocks might not sound very impressive with Yoenis Cespedes at six, but if he can slug three dingers every 12 games then he’ll have hit 40 after 162. It sounds more reasonable than Cespedes’ current pace of 81.
The San Diego Padres will need that kind of motivation and dedication. The team plays in the shadows of two postseason favorites in the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Friars also carry three Rule-5 picks on their 25-man roster. The last club to do so was the Detroit Tigers in 2003, and their 43 wins came on the heels of winning five of their last six games.