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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: WIL MYERS FIRST BASEMAN SAN DIEGO PADRES

There are some players in fantasy baseball who elicit an eye roll when you mention their names.  Whether it was due to disappointing numbers or injury, these players usually were once quite hyped but who now are radioactive to many due to getting burned in the past.  One guy who fits this class for many is San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers who has been annually one of the more frustrating players to own going back to his days coming up as a super prime power hitting prospect in the Kansas City Royals organization.  The main piece of the deal to the Tampa Bay Rays that netted James Shields, the Royals were knocked far and wide for giving up such a promising player.  Things got more nutty when Myers went out and hit 13 home runs, stole 5 bases, and batted .293 in just 335 at-bats as a Rays rookie in 2013.  With his draft stock soaring and having his name planted firmly on most sleeper lists, Myers saw his value soar.  It was at this point where the trouble first began and it was something I had touched on in going the other way on Myers in calling him a bust candidate for 2014.  Pointing out how Myers' knack for striking out was a situation that would be exploited by pitchers, the result was spot on from my projection as he batted just .222 with 6 home runs and 6 steals in 325 at-bats.  Hitting the DL with a major wrist injury and striking out in 24.9 percent of his at-bats, pitchers had no reason to give Myers anything to drive.  The bottom line was that Myers went down as a major fantasy baseball bust no matter how you sliced it.

As far as 2015 was concerned, there was a factor of drafters who gave Myers a mulligan on his struggles the previous year in pointing out the injury to his wrist and the typical sophomore slump as reasons to go back to the well on the kid again.  I continued to stay far away from Myers and suggested you do the same, especially after he was traded away to the San Diego Padres and spacious Petco Park the previous winter.  The fact the Rays (who love young players) were so willing to give up on Myers was telling and I continued to espouse the high K rate was not a good recipe for fantasy baseball success.  Once again dealing with wrist problems that added another element of annoyance to owning the guy, Myers batted just .253 with 8 home runs and 5 steals in 225 at-bats.  Myers actually got off to a decent start in 2015 before getting hurt and going into a sizable slump.  The K rate did improve to 21.7 percent but the .253 average was still leaving a lot to be desired.  Again no regret from this peanut stand when it came to not owing Myers last season. 

Fast forward to 2016 and present day and Myers is healthy and actually doing a decent job for the Padres as now the team's everyday first baseman.  Not very appealing to say the least at first base when it comes to fantasy baseball, Myers still carries the outfield tag where he is performing like a solid OF 3 as he headed into Tuesday's action with a .270 average with 7 home runs and 4 steals in just 152 at-bats.  The home run rate is way up and Myers continues to run a bit which put the power/speed tag on him which is always nice to see.  Beyond those numbers though remain some problems.  The ongoing battle with strikeouts is paramount as Myers' K rate is currently at a career-high 24.8 percent.  In addition, Myers' has a bit of a lucky BABIP at .318 which means he is more of a .260 hitter which makes him very shaky there again.  While Myers is no doubt doing his best work right now on a per game basis, he looks like he once again won't realize all of the big potential he carried when he first broke into the majors leagues a few seasons ago.

The bottom line with Wil Myers is that he still is a flawed player who only works as an outfielder 3 or lower in fantasy baseball terms.  He should not be used at first base in anything but NL-only setups and even that is a stretch.  I remain critical of the guy and have no interest in owning him in any way, shape, or form. 

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