Wil Myers, The Tampa Bay Rays, and Stage Five

By Robbie Knopf

Whenever you talk to Joe Maddon about a prospect, it seems like the same speech comes up every single time: Joe Maddon five stages in a prospect’s mental development. They are: 1) “I’m happy to be here,” 2) “Just trying to survive,” 3) “I belong here,” 4) “I want to make as much money as I can,” and 5) “Winning is the only thing that matters.” Before a prospect comes to the major leagues, Maddon wants them to not just be ready physically but come in with the mindset necessary to succeed in the major leagues. For Wil Myers, he was sent down to Triple-A at the end of spring training to improve his play, specifically to work on cutting down the strikeouts, running the bases better, and playing better defense. But the mental part of the game was also a major consideration, and it won’t be until Myers is confident that he belongs in the major leagues that the Rays will call him up. That process may already be underway. Myers had this to say in an interview with Chris Hogan of CLNS Radio:

"CLNSRadio: What do you expect and what are some of your expectations if you do get called up to the majors this year?Wil Myers: I just want to go out and help the team win. That’s the biggest thing for me because that is what it is all about in the big leagues. I want to play the best I can."

Based on the way the question was worded, Myers could be saying one of two things: either that the only thing that matters to him is winning or that once he arrives in the major leagues, winning is the only thing that will be important. Whichever meaning Myers intended, though, there’s a big positive to gleam from his comments, that he is getting with the Rays’ program and understands that his mental toughness will be key to his future as a Tampa Bay Ray. Wil Myers still has plenty more work to do on his game after his rough start to the season at Triple-A, still striking out too much for comfort. But once Myers gets his on-field performance together, he won’t be big league-ready only physically but mentally as well, and that could make all the difference. Winning the only thing that matters for Wil Myers and the Tampa Bay Rays. And as long as he stays composed mentally when he arrives in Tampa Bay, Wil Myers has the talent to help the Rays win a lot of games.