For many Royals fans, it’s a year too late, and in the wrong uniform on top of it, but no matter what the past was, in the present, Wil Myers is a Ray and getting his first taste of big league ball this afternoon.
As one of three Royals prospects to be named Minor League Player of the Year, Myers represents one of the bigger developmental successes in Royals history, but now, he has to prove it in the Show. I think he will and I wish he’d be with the Royals while he did so. But that’s not how things worked out and now, it’s time for closure.
So to celebrate, here’s a timeline of our journey with Myers as a Royal.
- It started as so many pro careers do, when the Royals selected Myers in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
- Myers and the Royals agreed to terms. Myers represented a case of the Royals investing in players who dropped due to fear of their bonus demands.
- Myers made the Midwest League All-Star Team.
- In July, Myers earned a promotion to High A Wilmington. At the time, Myers was drawing praise as perhaps the best hitting and power hitting prospect in the entire Royals organization.
- That August, the first whispers about moving Myers from behind the plate popped up.
- Myers started to get top overall prospect buzz.
- He was also named the Low A player of the year by the organization.
- He came in at #1 in our first ever prospect rankings.
- Just before Myers was moved to the outfield, we looked at comparisons to him as a catcher.
- Then he was officially moved to the outfield.
- Myers cracked Baseball America’s top 20 overall prospects.
- We put him at #2 in our second year of prospect rankings, just behind Eric Hosmer. Trust me, it was a close decision.
- Myers was named to the All-Star Futures Game representing Team USA.
- Foreshadowing: Two years ago, we discussed the idea of Myers as the key part to a trade for a top starting pitcher.
- Myers was tabbed to go to the Arizona Fall League after a disappointing 2011 where he fought some nagging injuries in Double A.
- September 2011: More foreshadowing, this time presenting the possibility of a Myers for James Shields trade.
- Myers rolled through the AFL and ended up being one of the standouts. His performance put any concerns over his 2011 regular season to rest.
- We aimed high, projecting Myers to crack Omaha’s opening day roster.
- His track record got him an invite to spring training.
- He was an intriguing player in Surprise as fans started to count down the days until he’d reach Kansas City.
- Kevin Goldstein, then of Baseball Prospectus, ranked Myers at the top of the Royals prospects he put in his top 101.
- As the 2012 season approached, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, and Jeff Francoeur looked to be a solid trio in the outfield, leaving the question in the air: Where did Wil Myers fit?
- Myers opened up his Double A season with 14 extra base hits in April.
- By the end of May, he was already making the move up to Omaha.
- Just a reminder that Myers doesn’t wear batting gloves. I love it. Kevin Scobee hates it.
- On a night when Myers hit a grand slam off Roy Oswalt, we looked at the logistics behind a callup. Francoeur’s contract and Super Two qualifications stood in the way.
- Myers changed his approach to be more aggressive in all counts and was swinging for the fences. That led to some concern, even while it was clear that he was earning a look at the big league level.
- For the second year in a row – this time in Kansas City – Myers was named to the All-Star Futures Game.
- By this time, Myers was crushing Triple A and Francoeur was struggling. The #FreeWil movement was growing. We took a look at the potential of trading Francoeur to open a spot for Myers.
- Myers was one of the standouts at the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend. We discussed his performance from the Flying Saucer in KC right after the game.
- At this stage, Francoeur was becoming a symbol of the organization’s stubbornness, but it was also getting so late into a lost year that many were becoming resigned that Myers wouldn’t reach the majors in 2012 just to save service time.
- Then they started to play Myers at third base on occasion in Omaha.
- The Royals named Myers their player of the year and he also got the same honor from Baseball America and USA Today.
- Despite that, he wasn’t a September callup.
- Bringing the James Shields rumors back up in November.
- Jeff Passan reported that the Royals were actively shopping Myers for a frontline starter.
- The potential future years of top performance made Myers too valuable as a trade chip so we looked at alternatives.
- Kevin Scobee argued that the Royals were mistakenly looking to trade what they felt was depth, but that trading Myers for pitching would leave the offense struggling.
- The Winter Meetings came and went and Wil Myers was still a Royal. Reported rumors of a Myers for Shields trade heated up but ultimately the Royals didn’t make a move in Nashville.
- Days after the meetings wrapped up, though, the Royals finally pulled the trigger.
- There were plenty of reactions as we all processed the deal. Some were on board. Some wanted to move on.
- Then came the analysis in a post-Myers world. It’s arguably the biggest trade in Royals history. If it gets them into the playoffs in the next two years, there won’t be a question about it.
- Once spring training started, reports came out that the Royals almost missed out on (or were nearly spared from?) the deal. That’s a big “What if?” to look back on in a couple of years.
And here we are now. Myers takes his first steps into a big league batter’s box today, and the story continues, but in a different setting.