It has been referred to so many times by sports pundits that it has become a cliche. Whenever a rookie starts off well, the “rookie wall” starts to be mentioned as an inevitable part of the experience. While a slump is inevitable, it does not always mean that it is the so-called”‘wall.” However, in the case of Wil Myers, this slump may well count as such.
Myers had been as hot as a Trinidad Scorpion chili pepper from July 10th through August 9th, producing a .442/.511/.688 batting line with five home runs and 17 RBIs. He had been moved up to the cleanup spot in the lineup, and had become the principle protection for Evan Longoria. Myers, who was expected to be a major part of the Rays lineup once he was recalled, certainly had not disappointed.
Then, for as hot as he had been, Myers turned ice cold. He was mired in a dreadful 0-13 slump heading into last night’s action, striking out five times. Wednesday night’s game against the Mariners seemed to be more of the same, as he missed pitches over the middle of the plate that he would have crushed during his run. Fastballs down the middle of the plate belt high were turning into popups, or fouled straight back. The rookie wall seemed to be in full effect.
In the top of the sixth, Myers got another pitch middle in, and this time, he did not miss. His two-run home run cut the Mariners’ lead to one, and gave the Rays a chance to complete the comeback. Even though he struck out leading off the eighth inning, his body language heading back to the dugout was different – he was no longer talking to himself or looking frustrated. He seemed locked back in, and confident that he would get the results he was looking for next time up.
Although it was just one at bat, and Wil Myers still has just one hit in his last seventeen at bats, that at bat may have made a big difference. It may have been enough for Myers to break through the rookie wall.