Even after the Rays’ missed out on the postseason in 2013, there is plenty of reason to be excited about their 2013 team. Their pitching staff remains excellent with David Price a true ace and Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson continuing to make strides, and their offense looks to be resurgent with Evan Longoria healthy and Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson joining the fray. But the reason Rays fans are most excited about their team’s future is top prospect Wil Myers, acquired in the James Shields trade this past offseason. The outfielder is beaming with potential, hitting .314 with 37 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, and he has a chance to be a dynamic pairing with Longoria in the middle of the Rays’ lineup for years to come. But when will the Rays call him up? Recent information suggests that it could be quite a bit later than fans expect.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors recently did a piece on the service time situation for the prospects in baseball, and according to Nicholson-Smith the Rays would have Myers under team control for seven years instead of the usual six if they call him up in late April as opposed to at the beginning of the season, but they would have to hold him back until mid-June for him to avoid super-two status and go through salary arbitration four times instead of the usual three. But money isn’t the only factor here. Talking to MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, Rays manager Joe Maddon had a very interesting quote.
“I think sometimes the industry gets impatient. When things aren’t going well you become impatient. You want to pull somebody before it is their time to be here. And that’s really dangerous. Because the real problem is to send somebody backwards or to really impact in a negative way his confidence. That’s sometimes insurmountable. You really can’t get that back.”
As we’ve discussed before, the Rays have to make sure that Myers is 100% ready for the major leagues before they call him up because if his confidence is blown, you never know what will happen to him despite his talent. Myers struck out 140 times versus 61 walks in 2012, and if Myers’ patience isn’t up to par, major league pitchers will exploit that, and the Rays are going to make sure that his approach is entirely sound before they call him up to the major leagues. Wil Myers has the talent to be a major league superstar someday, but first he is to smooth out the remaining kinks in his game to make sure everything goes as planned once he arrives in the majors.
We see that there are two factors that will determine when Wil Myers is called up to the major leagues: the best possible date to keep him under team control and save the Rays money, and his readiness for the major leagues. There’s a third factor as well: team need. If the Rays suffer an injury or see one of their players fall apart, that could prompt them to call up Myers sooner. We can’t say for sure when Wil Myers is going to be called up. But it’s a safe assumption that he won’t be called up until late April at least, and don’t be shocked if the All-Star break comes around and he’s still in the minor leagues.