The Tampa Bay Rays will call up Wil Myers from Triple A Durham Tuesday. He was hitting .286 (72 for 252) with 14 home runs, 13 doubles, 29 walks, and 57 RBI in 65 games. After a slow start Myers bat got very hot as his strike zone got in order and over his last 23 games he has hit .354 (34 for 96) with 10 home runs, 7 doubles, and 32 RBI.
Andrew Friedman on the decision to bring up Myers:
“Well it’s something that we’ve been deliberating for awhile and his recent hot streak certainly accelerated the conversations. As we’ve talked about since spring training…when we felt like he was ready it would be important to auger out a spot for him. In the last week we spent a lot more time thinking talking about it talking about it and we felt like injecting one more bat against right handed pitching that we felt like had a chance to do some damage was something that we wanted to do. We feel like he’ll fit right in with our group and be one of nine in our offensive unit to score runs.”
The roster spot that was augered out to promote Myers was that which belonged to Ryan Roberts who has been optioned to Durham. In 47 games for the Rays this season he batted .238 (30 for 126) with 3 home runs and 13 RBI.
Andrew Friedman referenced that Myers would help the Rays against right handed pitching. On the season the Rays have performed well against left handed pitching posting an OPS (on-base% + slugging%) of .812 and a slash line (batting average/on-base%/slugging%) of .291/.355/.457. Against right handed pitchers the Rays have an OPS of only .730 with a slash line of .245/.318/.411.
Friedman said that the final piece of the puzzle was the fact that he was driving the ball against right handed pitching and adjusting to getting pitched backwards. He felt that it was good that Myers went through these things at the Triple A level where he got to learn from it. He was in Durham about a month ago to watch Myers play and said that the thing that stood out the most was his defense.
Joe Maddon on Myers role :
He’s going to play in the outfield and probably hit him lower in the batting order just to take some of the pressure off of him but we’ll just see how it all plays out. There may be times you want to give him a rest against a very difficult right hander. It depends on how he’s swinging the bat. We’re going to have different options on in regards to setting up our lineup. Try to not place the expectations to high…although I know that’s going to come from outside it’s not going to come from within. He’s another one of our players, we’re going to try and ease him into the whole thing.
Joe Maddon on managing expectations:
“Of course we’re excited to have him here but I don’t want to just lump on a bunch of high expectations. Just come and play be a 22 year old in the big leagues. Really, I mean that sincerely. You’re not going to hear a lot of the high expectations coming from this particular desk or this chair. I want him to play. I want him to be Ray. Run hard to first base. I want him to do the right things on the field. Continue to work on his defense. Try to improve his baserunning.”
Myers will join the team in Boston and will wear uniform #9.
From the Rays Press Release:
Entering the 2013 season, Myers was rated by Baseball America as the No.1 prospct, Best Power Hitter and Best Hitter for Average in the Rays farm system. He also ranked a the N0.4 prospect in the minor leagues by MLB.com. Last year he became the 3rd player ever to win the Baseball America, USA Today, and Topps Minor League Player of the Year awards in the same season joining Andruw Jones (1996) and Josh Beckett (2001). He was acquired by the Rays from teh Royals along with RH Jake Odorizzi, LH Mike Montgomery, and 3b Patrick Leonard in exchange for RH James Shields, RH Wade Davis, and INF Elliot Johnson.