Reality Check: Showing a little Wil power
Now that Wil Myers is in the majors, what should you reasonably expect from him? Our Scott White takes on the hottest prospect of the year in his latest edition of Reality Check.
Wil Myers: He's good, but not save-your-season good.
The route he took to get here may lead you to believe otherwise. Even when his batting average at Triple-A Durham dipped to .242 in late May, with no promotion in sight, his ownership rate never fell below 71 percent. Fantasy owners, a notoriously impatient lot, were willing to wait for him like no prospect before him.
So then, by definition, he's overhyped.
Don't get me wrong: Now that he's in the big leagues, Myers' ownership rate of 88 percent is perfectly reasonable and in line with every other outfielder I rank in my top 50, such as Melky Cabrera at 91 percent, Gerardo Parra at 90 percent and Shane Victorino at 84 percent.
But is anyone counting on any of them to single-handedly salvage a season? Would anyone think all is lost if any of them suffered a season-ending injury? I sure hope not.
Yet anytime a player with no immediate value gets stashed away for that length of time -- and in a bench spot, no less -- the presumption is he's an eventual game-changer. Why sacrifice so much for anything less?
Yes, sacrifice. How many times were you tempted to drop Myers but chose not to, thoroughly invested in what you hoped would be a big payoff later? Think of all the players who could have been yours if you hadn't already committed that roster spot. Josh Donaldson. Everth Cabrera. Jean Segura. Can you promise Myers will be better than them? I can't.
Which is why I rank him not with that group, but with the Parras, Victorinos and Starling Martes of the world. He's a player who we'd all like to have on our teams but who we could all probably live without.
So was it worth it?
I've been around long enough to know how this works. The big prospect arrives to great fanfare and jubilation. His Fantasy owners, effusive in their praise of both him and themselves but subconsciously seeking validation, venture out to see what others are calling Myers, subscribing to what I call the Vanilla Ice standard. In short, anything less than "the best" is a felony. And a felony deserves punishment. And the punishment is daggers -- verbal, gerbil daggers.
But I assure you any perceived lack of enthusiasm for Myers here is not because I'm jealous of him, those who beat me to him in Fantasy or the joy he brings to the lads and lasses fighting over who gets to "be" him on the kickball field.
It's because I choose to have realistic expectations when running my Fantasy teams and not get caught up in the emotion of it all.
Look, I'm not blaming those who held on to Myers all this time. To a degree, I'm responsible for it, so I certainly understand it. If you drafted Myers at his going rate, you hitched your wagon to him for better or worse. Of course you were going to stick with him over that first wave of waiver wire breakouts. You didn't expect him up in the first two weeks anyway. Then, with that second wave, you knew his arrival could be any day now. Then, with the third wave, well, giving up on him wouldn't have made sense anymore, not with what you had passed up already. On it on it went, with your attachment to Myers perpetuating itself through the simple passage of time.
You stuck with him because you reached a point where you had to stick with him. And I did the same thing.
Of course, it's easy to pass up the questionable newcomers for the upside guy when you think the uspide guy is only a month away. But seeing as we're nearing the end of June and you're just now making use of that roster spot, you can (and should) ask yourself if Myers was really the best use of it. Just how valuable is he?
Am I excited he's finally here? Heck yes. Am I starting him where I own him? You better believe it. But if someone offered me Mark Trumbo for Myers today, I'd take it in a heartbeat.
Trumbo is what Myers is aspiring to be, at least at this stage of his career. Maybe someday in the not-too-distant future, a .300 batting average will be a reasonable expectation for Myers, but right now, as a 22-year-old getting his first taste of the big leagues after struggling with inconsistency this year and a higher-than-expected number of strikeouts each of the last two, I'm not expecting much more than a .260 mark. The power is fully developed, which gives me some hope of a Trumbo-like performance the rest of the way, but at this stage of his career, that's the optimistic scenario for Myers. If he's going to distance himself from those other outfielders numbered 40-50 in the rankings, that's how he's going to do it.
And that's still great. I think most of us would be thrilled to get another Trumbo at this stage of the season.
But notice I said most, not all. Some wouldn't even care because they know their team is in such bad shape that not even Trumbo can save it.
Even for the middling teams, he can do only so much. In the mixed league where I invested most heavily in Myers, I'm in fifth place. You know what's not going to pull me out of fifth place? A lousy 3 1/2 months of Trumbo. Maybe 3 1/2 months of Mike Trout would, but Myers we can safely assume is no Trout. Who is?
Which brings me back to my original question: Was it worth it? If I had wanted Trumbo, I could have just drafted Trumbo and had him for an extra 40 percent of the season.
Maybe it's all spilled milk now. Myers is where he is, and I am where I am. What good does backtracking do either of us? But even looking at the present, I see Myers less as the hero Evan Gattis was when I picked him up in mid-April or Anthony Rendon was when I picked him up last week and more as the albatross who put me in the hole I'm in now.
Do I have any assurance that, relative to position, he'll outperform either of those two the rest of the way? Do I have any hope of him outperforming Yasiel Puig, who was widely available throughout the wait?
What good is stashing a big-name prospect for 2 1/2 months when I can add one just as good the moment he's ready to contribute?
So no, I don't romanticize the delayed payoff for Myers. I don't see it as a testament to patience or a fulfillment of destiny. I see it as the deadweight finally doing something. And if the hype of his promotion allows me to get more than fair market value for him -- such as Trumbo or Anthony Rizzo or Dexter Fowler or Billy Butler -- I say bring it on.
Of course, nobody's going inflate Myers' value more than the person who's held on to him all this time, so if that's you, your best bet might be just to sit back and watch it all unfold.
Hopefully, from well within striking distance of first place. If you couldn't get there without him, I'm guessing you won't get there with him.
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