Wil Myers – Can He Sustain the Power & Speed Combination?
In traditional 5×5 rotisserie leagues, players like Wil Myers tend to excite fantasy managers with the power and speed combination. In 2020, Myers was on pace for career bests in home runs and RBI. After finishing strong in the second half of 2019, Myers headed towards a solid fantasy campaign many hoped for since 2017. As always, we dive into what happened in 2020, his batted ball profile, and plate discipline. We also look at his Stacast data, results against different types of pitches, and reasons for optimism and concern.
What?! Your league didn’t use Fantrax this past season? Inconceivable! Check out everything Fantrax has to offer and I’m sure you’ll come around to our way of thinking.
Wil Myers – Can He Sustain the Power & Speed Combination?
What Happened in 2020? – Wil Myers
At the peak of his career, Wil Myers totaled 58 home runs and 48 steals in 2016 and 2017. Although the power hasn’t reached those peaks since 2017, Myers looked ready to smash those home run numbers over a full 2020 season. Through 218 plate appearances in 2020, Myers finished with 15 home runs, 34 runs, 40 RBI, and two steals. He slashed .288/.353/.606 with an 8.3% walk rate and a 25.7% strikeout rate. Over the past four seasons, Myers finished with double-digit steals in each season, even in an injury-shortened 2018 of 343 plate appearances.
You gotta feel happy for Wil Myers. People were writing this guy off the last two seasons.
Now he’s out here having (what would have been) an All Star campaign. 👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/AdZ8GvDp6Z
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) September 9, 2020
If we take an average of plate appearances across his three full seasons over the past four years, it averages out to 605 plate appearances. When we pace out his 2020 season, Myers would’ve finished with 41 home runs, 94 runs, 110 RBI, and five steals. In terms of those counting stats, Myers would’ve reached career highs in home runs and RBI. It seems like an unlikely scenario and more so the best-case scenario.
In the shortened 2020 season, Myers notched career highs in terms of his slugging percentage and almost surpassed career bests in batting average and OBP. Granted, over a full season worth of plate appearances, his batting average and OBP may fall closer to his career averages. Throughout his eight-year career, Myers has a slash line of .254/.329/.447. Even his career 9.8% walk rate and a 26.6% strikeout rate falls in line with his 2020 walk and strikeout rates.
Batted Ball Profile
On the surface, Wil Myers performed solidly in 2020, but let’s dive a little deeper into his batted ball profile. In 2020, Myers finished with a 23.4% line drive rate, 38.3% ground ball rate, and 38.3% fly-ball rate. Over the past two seasons, Myers typically held a high pull rate of 46.5% in 2019 and 50.2% in 2018. However, in 2020, Myers’ pull rate dropped to 39.4%, which even finished lower than his 43.8% career pull rate. One other notable batted ball profile metric to mention involves the 27.8% HR/FB rate, which appears unsustainable based on his career 17.1% HR/FB rate. Over a full season, that HR/FB rate likely would finish closer to his career rates.
In 2019, we noticed an outlier in terms of plate discipline, which showed up in his strikeout rate and slash line. Wil Myers finished with a 13.6% swinging-strike rate and a 34.3% strikeout rate in 2019. Over his career, Myers has a 10.8% swinging-strike rate and finished with a strikeout rate ranging between 25.7% to 27.7% in 2017, 2018, and 2020. Interestingly, Wil Myers made less contact outside of the zone over the past two seasons compared to 2017 and 2018. Again, across the board, we notice 2019 as an outlier in most of the plate discipline sections.
Statcast Data – Wil Myers
In 2020, Wil Myers reached career highs in average exit velocity, barrel rate, and hard-hit rate, which all finished in the top 18% of the league. Myers finished with a 91 mph average exit velocity (82nd percentile), 45.8% hard-hit rate (82nd percentile), and 14.8% barrel rate (93rd percentile). Even his expected stats backed up the fire 2020 season for Wil Myers that all ranked in the top 20% of the league. He had a .285 xBA (84th percentile), .588 xSLG (95th percentile), and .377 xwOBA (93rd percentile).
When looking across the past four seasons, Wil Myers consistently held a high average exit velocity on FB/LD. However, in 2020, Myers finished with a notable drop in his average exit velocity on FB/LD, and his max exit velocity dropped as well. Typically max exit velocity indicates raw power for a hitter, and interestingly it dropped when compared to his 2017-2019 numbers. It’s interesting because Wil Myers potentially paced out for a career-high in home runs. On the flip side, maybe these numbers even out closer to the previous three seasons.
When looking at Wil Myers and his pitch results, we recognize a significant outlier against breaking and offspeed pitches. In 2020, Myers crushed breaking pitches and offspeed pitches relative to 2018 and 2019, where he struggled. Although the whiff rates against those pitches rose in 2020, Myers finished with a higher batting average, slugging percentage, and wOBA. Overall, these improved results against breaking and offspeed pitches probably contributed to the improved slash line in 2020. Again, these 2020 numbers against non-fastballs appear like the outlier in comparison to previous seasons. Thus, we take the 2020 pitch results data with a grain of salt and expect it to hover closer to his career numbers.
2021 Outlook – Wil Myers
So what do we make of Wil Myers, and what’s his 2021 outlook? From a fantasy baseball perspective, let’s capture where he ranked on Fantrax scoring and the Razzball Player Rater. According to Fantrax, Wil Myers finished as the 22nd hitter in 2020, sandwiched in between Xander Bogaerts and Adalberto Mondesi. On the Razzball Player Rater, Myers ranked as the 23rd player overall in 15-team rotisserie leagues. Unsurprisingly, Wil Myers ranked as one of the best fantasy baseball players, given that he smashed during the 2020 season.
Reasons for Optimism – Consistent power and speed combination, paced out for potential career bests in 2020, career-high percentile rankings in Statcast data, and intriguing swing change
Wil Myers is known for his power and speed combination, which is valuable in traditional 5×5 rotisserie leagues. He provided the power in 2020 but lacked the steals, even though he racked up the counting stats. Myers paced out for career bests in 2020, but that likely would’ve fallen closer to his career averages. He also reached career bests in terms of percentages and percentile rankings for his Statcast data. Also, give credit to Mike Kurland for noticing Wil Myers and the intriguing swing changes early on in 2020.
So far: (Thread)
-GB%: 54.5% 😬
-HH%: 73rd Percentile
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) July 31, 2020
Reasons for Concern – Average exit velocity on FB/LD, maximum exit velocity, injuries, missed games, and career outliers against breaking and offspeed pitches
On the flip side, reasons for concern include the drop in his average exit velocity on FB/LD when comparing 2017-2019. Also, the maximum exit velocity gradually dipped for Wil Myers, which could indicate potential red flags in terms of raw power. Next, let’s consider the injuries and missed games.
In 2018, Myers battled an oblique injury and foot issues, amongst other problems, and thus only totaled 343 plate appearances in 83 games. Although Myers played in 155 games in 2019, he only totaled 490 plate appearances due to injuries and struggles. His 490 plate appearances in 2019 were the most since 2017. In the first half of 2019, Myers had 12 home runs, 42 runs, 27 RBI, and nine steals with a .217 batting average. Meanwhile, in the second half of 2019, he finished with six home runs, 16 runs, 26 RBI, and seven steals with a .271 batting average.
When analyzing how he performed against different pitch types, Myers performed well against breaking and offspeed pitches in 2020. With three seasons and consistent struggles against breaking and offspeed pitches, it begs the question of whether his success against non-fastballs continues. Over a full season, it’s safe to expect those numbers to even out.
In looking at the 2Early Mock Drafts, Wil Myers had a 111.7 ADP sandwiched in between Sandy Alcantara and Jose Altuve. Given that he only holds outfield eligibility on Fantrax, he would’ve ranked as the 24th outfielder drafted between Kyle Lewis and Mike Yastrzemski. Fellow FantraxHQ writer Chris Clegg ranks Wil Myers 68th in his early 2021 hitter rankings.
From 2016-2017, when Wil Myers compiled his best two seasons, he ranked 30th with 58 home runs and 11th with 48 steals. Then from 2018-2020, Myers ranked 96th with 44 home runs and 31st with 31 steals. Overall, Myers provides a power and speed combination that’s enticing at his ADP, assuming he stays healthy. However, monitor whether the drop in steals in 2020 is more of an outlier or a trend moving forward.
The 2020 MLB season is over, but we are already preparing for next season. Keep track of all our 2020-21 MLB Offseason Analysis.
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2018/2019, and we’re not slowing down in 2020! With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.