Could Wil Myers Get a Look in Center?

By David Hill

Since arriving in the majors, Wil Myers has been a mainstay for the Rays in right field. Aside from his occasional day off as the Rays designated hitter, 36 of Myers’ 39 games have been in right. While defensive metrics are not a fan of his play, Myers has yet to make an error, and has displayed the ability to be a solid defensive outfielder during his time in the minors.

Myers also played several different positions defensively in the minors. Originally drafted as a catcher, Myers ended up moving to right as the Royals looked for a way to his bat to the majors as quickly as possible. He also played a bit in center, appearing in 100 games split between 2011 and 2012. In fact, Myers spent most of his time in 2012 in center, making 87 of his 134 games there. Defensively, Myers was slightly below average; however, considering that he first appeared in center in 2011, his performance was still fairly good.

However, the Rays had not played Myers anywhere aside from right at any time this season. Perhaps this was due to the Rays wanting him to work on his offense and they did not want to give him something else to worry about, or perhaps they did not think highly of Myers in center. Yet, as the Rays tend to like having players capable of playing multiple positions, it would seemingly have made sense for them to see how Myers performed in center for a few games, just to see what his abilities are first hand.

Now, with the injury to Desmond Jennings, the Rays may get that opportunity to see how Myers can play center on the major league stage. While Sam Fuld is likely to get majority of the time in center with the recently recalled Jason Bourgeois filling in, Myers could get a look. For Myers to get a chance to play center, it would likely involve Joe Maddon wanting to play Ben Zobrist, Ryan Roberts and Luke Scott in the same game, but that is not outside the realm of possibility.

Even though it may seem like a long shot for Wil Myers to get a chance in center, Maddon is not afraid to tinker with lineups and where he plays people. After all, before last season, Zobrist had not played short since 2009. If given the chance, Myers might, like Zobrist, surprise everyone with his ability at a different position.