17 June 2013

What does calling up Wil Myers mean for the Rays?

Arguably the most talked about prospect is about to hit the show as the Tampa Bay Rays called up outfielder Wil Myers last night; he will debut tomorrow night at Fenway Park. Myers was the centerpiece of the James Shields deal with Kansas City back in December and his debut has been much anticipated. What could his call-up mean for Tampa Bay?

First, I just want to take the time to defend the Rays' handling of Myers' call-up. Was it a financial decision to hold off until now to buy themselves another year before Myers hits arbitration? Of course it was, and is there anything wrong with that? As we all know, the Rays are a small market club with not a lot of cash so the longer they can keep onto their cornerstones, the better it is for them. This is a franchise that does not like to rush their top prospects to the bigs and it is a policy that has worked out very well for them.

And what has allowed the Rays to be more cautious and conservative with Myers is that their offense has been surprisingly strong. They have scored the sixth-most runs in baseball, the sixth-most homers, the sixth-most RBIs, have the seventh-best on-base percentage, the sixth-highest slugging percentage and the fifth-best OPS. The offense has been a big reason why the club is very much in the hunt in both the AL East and in the Wild Card, even with an inconsistent rotation and spotty bullpen work.

That is not to say that Myers will not be helpful in the lineup. Tampa Bay has gotten very little production out of the left field position this year as guys such as Sam Fuld, Luke Scott, Shelley Duncan among others. While Myers does have to work on his strikeouts, he does have prodigious power and has been playing very well of late in Durham.

Many may be expecting Myers to make an immediate impact, similar to Bryce Harper a year ago. But while he is certainly capable of providing a spark big enough to push the Rays into the postseason, expecting such may be a little much. But it should definitely be fun to watch.

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