Can Wil Myers Bounce Back?

By David Hill

Oct 8, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Wil Myers (9) works out prior to game four of the American League divisional series against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The history of the postseason is littered with players who were unable to come through when the games mattered most. Rick Ankiel infamously lost all concept of the strike zone to the point where he could no longer pitch, having to reinvent himself as an outfielder following his disastrous 2000 postseason. Donnie Moore gave up a two run home run to Dave Henderson to keep the Angels from reaching the 1986 World Series and was unable to overcome the moment, becoming obsessed with his inability to get that final strike, eventually shooting his wife before killing himself three years later. While Moore is an extreme case, he does serve as a cautionary tale as to how much postseason failure can weigh upon the mind even years later. Sometimes, players are unable to overcome their inability to come through when their teams needed them most. That is the very reason why it will be interesting to watch how Wil Myers performs at the start of next season.

Myers, along with Jose Iglesias, are considered to be the favorites for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Such an honor would certainly be deserved, as Myers produced a .293/.354/.478 batting line with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs in just over half a season. His bat went a long way towards helping propel the Rays into the postseason. Yet, Myers could also be considered a major reason as to why the Rays fell to the Red Sox in four games. Not only was he abysmal at the plate during the postseason, going 2-20 with seven strikeouts and only one walk, but his misplay on what would have been the first out of the fourth inning in Game One of the ALCS may have changed the tide, not just of that game, but of the series.

Wil Myers showed resiliency this season, bouncing back after a slow start to become one of the key bats in the Rays lineup. His presence in the outfield allowed Joe Maddon more flexibility with his lineup, turning into a major part of the Rays playoff push at only 22 years of age. However, Myers has yet to taste failure to this extent, where the failure of the Rays to advance may be able to be traced back to his performance. Hopefully, Myers will be able to bounce back and continue on the trajectory towards potential stardom that he appeared to be on before the 2013 postseason. Otherwise, he may be the latest in a long line of players unable to bounce back from a disastrous playoff performance.