Tampa Bay Rays minor league outfielder Wil Myers is regarded by nearly every baseball scout as one of the top prospects in the modern game. The 22-year-old currently sits one step away from the majors in Triple-A Durham and that has many hoping people expecting to see him up in the big show soon.
However, one area of concern possibly holding Myers back is his propensity to strikeout. Entering Sunday, Myers was going down on strikes in over 33 percent of his at-bats, and one of the reasons why could be because of his approach to hitting with two strikes. While most hitters choose to choke up on the bat and look to simply make , Myers says he isn't cut out for that approach, citing that he is a run producer and refuses to shorten his swing when down two strikes.
“I’m not looking to ‘choke and poke’ up there with two strikes. I’m looking for a ball to drive still. You always hear ‘choke and poke’ with two strikes, but as a middle of the order guy, one of the guys that drives in runs, you’re not really looking to just slap the ball around, just put it in play…If I have a runner on base with two strikes, I’m looking to drive the ball, even with two strikes. I’m looking to put the ball in play hard somewhere to drive the run in.”It seems as though Myers' mentality is quite different from that of his own manager, Charlie Montoyo. Montoyo wants all of his hitters to buckle down in a two-strike count and that includes Myers.
“We teach the same thing everybody else teaches…We stress it all the way from rookie ball to the big leagues: You have to shorten your swing with two strikes, try to put the ball in play. You would think it makes sense, man, I don’t want to be striking out, there’s no chance for anything. No error, no infield hit or nothing. I wouldn’t say nobody cares (about striking out). Nobody likes striking out, for sure. It’s just the approach: some people are just taking the same hack day in and day out with one strike or two strikes…You have to keep preaching it. You have to say it a thousand times, maybe a thousand and one times until they start listening. Just because a guy doesn’t do it, that doesn’t mean you’re just going to say, never mind. You’ve got to keep saying it, keep working on it.”Rays skipper Joe Maddon was even quoted earlier this week on the MLB Network that he wants his young hitters to balance their strikeouts and walks. Myers has 51 strikeouts versus just 22 walks in 2013.
There is no denying that Myers has talent. However, he may want to stop being so stubborn and listen up to the wishes of his coaches if he wants to plant his roots in the major leagues one day. Until then, Myers could reside in Durham, N.C. for awhile.
Via Rays Index