The struggles of Evan Longoria this season are something that Tampa Bay Rays fans can wrap their heads around. We have seen him battle through injuries and cold streaks in recent years, and especially given the way he has been playing recently, we can be optimistic that he will be just fine. The performance of Wil Myers, however, is another matter entirely for a multiplicity of reasons.
The first thing to note is how bad this season has been for Myers. While Longoria has been respectable even at his worst, Myers is down to just a .222/.298/.327 line, doing very little right. His power has been missing, he is walking only marginally more, and there is no statistic like Longoria’s RBIs that we can hang our hats on. His defense has not been anything special either, perhaps even costing the Rays a win this season.
What is especially frustrating is that we know Myers’ flaw: secondary pitches on the outer part of the plate. This same problem spot is being exploited endlessly, and Myers simply has been unable to adjust. That leads us to our final point and perhaps the most daunting one: Myers has no track record of success that makes us sure that he can adapt and move past his current struggles. Sure, he had a great rookie year, but his problem on outside pitches has persisted, and can we really be sure that he can overcome it? Wil Myers’ talent is undeniable, but there are serious questions facing him now and the Rays would love to see him begin to answer them before the season is through. Maybe on Wednesday he started that process.
Wil Myers will never be a great defensive player, but he showed a flash of brilliance in the sixth inning of the Rays’ game against the New York Yankees. Brett Gardner hit a drive to deep right field that seemed destined to turn into an extra-base hit and blow the game open for the Yankees. However, Myers went back to the track and made a leaping grab against the wall, holding the Yankees to just one run on the play. It was because of Myers that the Rays were in the game until the very end. Speaking of the very end, Myers came to the plate against David Robertson with two outs in the ninth inning and laced an opposite-field single to keep the Rays alive. He came up in a big spot and delivered a key hit. It was not a game-tying home run, but it was something, and the Rays have to hope to can build on it. This game could easily be forgotten if Wil Myers continues to struggle, but we have waited for his turnaround for a long time, and this just might be it.