As Royals top prospect Wil Myers continues to impress at the minor league level, many fans wonder when they will get to see him promoted from Omaha to Kansas City and to those fans I say, be patient.
Myers doesn’t have much left to prove in the minors as he has shown that he can hit for average and power at both the AA and AAA levels this season. The 21-year-old is currently hitting .325 in Omaha with eight home runs and 23 RBI’s, very solid numbers that have followed the awesome numbers he put up in AA earlier this year (.343 BA, 13 HR, and 30 RBI in just 30 games).
Even though Myers is putting up ridiculous numbers in the minors so far this season, the Royals should wait before calling their top hitting prospect anytime soon.
The Royals have managed to linger in the AL Central race thus far thanks to a relatively strong record on the road (16-12), but have inexplicably been terrible at home (just 8-20) with by far the worst home record in baseball. The fact that a pretty young Royals ballclub has played well on the road is a good sign and bodes well for the future, but this team doesn’t have the pitching or even offensive firepower at the moment to contend for a playoff spot this season.
So if Myers has nothing left to prove in AAA and the Royals aren’t going to contend this year either way, why leave him down in Omaha any longer?
I believe there are a few reasons to leave Myers down in Omaha for the next couple of months before an early August promotion.
The first reason and the biggest reason is confidence, Myers is tearing up minor league pitching and he should continue to tear up pitching at the AAA level. Myers is still very young and while he does not strikeout at a terrible rate (29 percent of the time this season), he could improve in that area. Once Myers comes up, he should stay up, and the Royals need to make sure he is really ready.
Myers will see substantially better pitching at the major league level than he has seen at either the AA or AAA levels and his strikeout rate will likely climb to over 30 percent and potentially even higher than that. If the Royals call Myers up and he struggles, what do they do then?
Send him back down to Omaha where he has already proven he can handle the pitching just to try to re-establish his confidence?
Yes, there is the possibility that the Royals call Myers up and he has makes a smooth transition to the majors while flourishing in Kansas City’s lineup, but that is unlikely.
Players like Bryce Harper are the exception, not the rule, and Harper struck out a good amount less in the minors than Myers.
Myers should stay in Omaha for at least another month to continue working on his plate discipline against pitching that he has had little trouble against, rather than try to cut down on his strikeouts and improve his walk rate at the big league level.
The Royals should let Myers’ confidence continue to build in Omaha and then give him a couple of months at the big league level to end the season to see what he can do heading into 2013.
There is also the issue of where Myers would play if he were to join the Royals. Center field would appear to be the logical spot at the moment with Lorenzo Cain still struggling with injuries and Jarrod Dyson struggling at the plate.
Myers has been playing primarily center as of late for Omaha and so the Royals are clearly leaning in that direction, but what about Cain when he is ready to return to the big club? The Royals are pretty confident what they have in Myers, but Cain hasn’t had much of a chance to show what he can do at the big league level.
Jeff Francoeur needs to stay in the Royals lineup because he brings a veteran presence to a very young clubhouse and he provides the team with a quality trade chip at the deadline should they choose to deal the 28-year-old.
If the Royals choose to deal Francoeur at the deadline then that would open up a spot for Myers to be the Royals everyday right fielder (which is where he will likely end up when all is said and done), and at that point Myers should be truly major league ready.
That would also allow the Royals to see what they have in center with Cain for the remaining couple of months of the 2012 season.
Myers will be up soon enough and there will be a time when the Royals need to see what their top prospect can do against big league pitching (more than just a few at-bats against Roy Oswalt), but that time has not come.
Kansas City should take their time with their power-hitting top prospect to make sure he really is ready to be an everyday player the major league level; there is no need to rush him on a team that is finally building the right way for the future.