Every Monday I will be taking an in-depth look at a player who could potentially get called up to the Majors this year, and could be useful to fantasy owners as a result. In some cases, it could a top prospect (like today's), and in other cases it could be a player in the minors who would benefit from an opportunity in the bigs, especially if an injury or trade occurs.
Today's prospect has been near the top of prospect lists pretty much since he was drafted, but is now starting to approach the Majors and will likely be moved up to AAA in the coming weeks. He is a prospect I wrote about at the start of the 2011 season, and one who will likely be patrolling right field for the Royals for years to come. That prospect is Wil Myers.
Weight: 205 lbs.
Age as of End of 2012 Season: 21
On 40-man Roster: No
Myers was a 3rd round draft pick by the Royals in the 2009 draft, but his draft round did not really tell the story of his perceived value. Keith Law projected him at the #12 spot prior to that draft, but obviously he fell in part due to signability concerns. When he was drafted, the Royals had intended to keep him as a catcher. He spent both the 2009 remainder and the entirety of the 2010 season catching. He crushed at the plate, hitting .369/.427/.679 with 5 home runs in just 22 games in 2009, and .315/.429/.506 with 14 HR and 12 SB in 126 games between Low-A and High-A in 2010.
The team decided after the 2010 season to convert Myers to the outfield, as he and his bat would likely reach the Majors as a result. He hit .254/.353/.393 with 8 HR and 9 SB in just 99 games at AA last year, but his numbers in 2011 don't really tell the whole story though. Myers suffered a freak injury early on during the 2011 season where he had to have stitches on his knee after slipping in a rain storm. He only missed a week with that, but missed nearly two months after the scab from that became infected.
What's Stopping Him From Contributing Now?
To me, there are 3 things that are keeping Myers down from the Majors:
1) He isn't on the 40-man roster, and there's no rush to add him to it.
If the Royals were to call up Myers, it would start his service time clock, and with the Royals not likely to compete this season, there's not a ton of incentive to start that clock if he can't help lead them toward a playoff berth.
2) He has not shown continued success above the High-A level until this season.
Myers is absolutely killing the ball at AA so far this year, as he has 8 home runs and a .330/.386/.670 slash line through 26 games this season, but I would want to see him continue to hit well for another month before moving him up to AAA. It's slightly concerning that he has an 9 BB, 33 K split at the moment, if only because it isn't really in line with his previous season rates.
3) There's no easy opening in the outfield for him to take over at.
Myers is expected to be a corner outfielder once he gets to the Majors, regardless of how much center field he plays in the minors. When you take a look at the players under contract past 2012, you have Alex Gordon for left field until 2015, Billy Butler for the DH spot until 2014, and Jeff Francoeur under contract for 2013. Francouer is under contract for $6.75 million in 2013, but that could very well be tradeable if he hits reasonably well during next season.
What Could He Do When He is Called Up?
I would say that he becomes a threat to hit 15 home runs and steal 15 bases immediately in his first full season in the Majors. If he is called up midway through a season, I would prorate those numbers accordingly. I would also think he could provide a solid batting average to go with those numbers (.275-.285) at first, and eventually be a .300 hitter in the Majors. Remember that he is still just
When Does He Seem Likely To Get There?
Based on his current timeline and the current options in front of him, I would say that he will be up at some point during the 2013 season. The 2012 Royals don't appear to be competing particularly for the division, so rushing him seems unlikely. As with most prospects, I would not expect him to reach high level production in his first full season in the Majors.
Myers may be the top outfield prospect left in the minors at this point, and could also be the closest to contributing as well. He looks like he will be an above-average contributor for fantasy purposes in the near future, and that future could be as soon as next season.