Then, this afternoon, USA Today named Myers the recipient of their award as well.
Not to be outdone, Myers was also selected as Pert Plus’s minor leaguer with the brightest future (along with Seattle pitching prospect Danny Hultzen). He’s also been named the Royals Triple A Player of the Year by the organization and was a member of the Pacific Coast League and a standout in the All-Star Futures Game.
That’s an awful lot of resume padding. Those awards come his way for a good reason. In 134 games split among Double A and Triple A, Myers hit 37 homers and put up a .314/.387/.600 line in 591 plate appearances. The home run mark is the most since Kila Ka’aihue hit 37 in 2008.
J.J. Cooper of Baseball America detailed some of the adjustments Myers made this season to be more of a middle order hitter, notably a more upright stance for more backspin on the ball and more aggression at the plate. Even with those changes and with more strikeouts, Myers still hit .300 at both levels and made other adjustments as the season went on.
Despite his success, the Royals have been patient and aren’t likely to promote him this season. It’s been pointed out that the Royals took a similar approach to Mike Moustakas when he was crushing the ball in 2010. At that time, Moustakas, like Myers now, wasn’t on the 40 man roster, but didn’t need to be added to be protected from the winter’s Rule 5 draft. There’s not much point to bringing Myers up now to get a handful of games – if there was a time to do it, it would have been in mid-June or shortly after the All-Star break when he’d be less likely to qualify for Super Two status. With Jeff Francoeur struggling most of the season, many Royals fans questioned the decision to keep him in the minors.
So what do all of these awards mean?
Not much, really, but they have historically gone to players who later had success in the big leagues. Tom Gordon and Alex Gordon are the only other Royals to be named Baseball America’s minor league Player of the Year and both have gone on to have good careers (or at least, Alex looks like he should be headed that way after early struggles). Myers is also the first Royal to win both the USA Today honor and the Baseball America award and 7th overall to do so.
If past winners are any indication, Myers is in good company. Past BA winners include Derek Jeter, Frank Thomas, Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones, Paul Konerko, Joe Mauer and Mike Trout (among others). In the history of the award, nearly every player has gone on to have at least a productive major league career, if not an excellent one. Rocco Baldelli won the award in 2002 and looked like a budding star, but injuries and illness forced him to retire at age 29.
It’s still on Myers to succeed. Just being on an impressive list of award winners does nothing. He should* get his shot early in 2013 to show how he adjusts to the big leagues.
*I say “should” because, well, who knows with the Royals…