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The Royals and Wil Myers

Brace yourself for Wil Myers finally coming to the major leagues. It may not be as soon as many Royals fans would like, but it will happen. Everyone thinks Myers can hit, but can he play the field and where? The organization's handling of Myers defensively has been curious.


It is Monday. Billy Beane is already making trades. The Giants are trying their best to save us from the horror of another Cardinals' World Series and those of us caught in the web of Royal fandom are just waiting for the post-season to get over and the off-season to begin.

Although an off-season trade or free agent signing might change this sentiment, Wil Myers is likely to be the most watched player in spring training. Not only is he one of, if not THE, best hitting prospect in the minors, but Myers is also the heir apparent to one of the weak spots in the Kansas City lineup in 2012.

How much better could it be for The Process? You have a veteran with an inconsistent career history, coming off yet another horrific year (wOBA .285, fWAR -1.2), whose defensive range seemed to be shrinking by the inning as the season ground on. You have one of the best hitting prospects in baseball in AAA, ready to take over right field and provide a boost to the lineup. That's how it is supposed to work, right?

EIGHTEEN. That is the number of games Wil Myers played in rightfield in 2012.

Seventy-five. That is Myers' career total at the position.

After moving from catcher, the Royals have put Myers in leftfield six times and 100 more games in center. Just for fun, Myers also has played 15 games at third base.

There is a school of thought that playing centerfield is a good way to just generally learn the outfield, but with Francoeur struggling throughout 2012, did it make sense to basically not play Myers in right at all last summer? And what is one to make of the shift to third base?

Is Dayton Moore trying to market Myers? Or Moustakas? I can see some logic in that approach, but I keep going back to just how bad Jeff Francoeur was last year. The great arm aside, the Frenchman was painful to watch run down fly balls (or chase after bouncing ones, more often). You have a young team with precious few position prospects in the upper minors and decide you are going to take the very best prospect and play him at positions that, theoretically, you already have filled.

Some of you have no doubt seen Myers play more than I (I have caught two Omaha games and the Futures Game), but I see a guy who generally makes the plays, but does not do so very efficiently. Myers' routes to fly balls seems problematical at best. Given what was happening to the Royals on the major league level, I would have been inclined to get Myers as much work in right from July on as possible.

One could say that the Royals are hardly set in center and be correct, but I will take my chances on the sometimes healthy Lorenzo Cain and the somewhat improving Jarrod Dyson being more valuable in center than Francoeur will be in right. The organization seemed to be handling Myers as if they had Giancarlo Stanton in right.

Now, all that said, I think there is a 10% chance that Myers breaks camp with the Royals in 2013, a 30% chance he is up by the end of April and a 99% chance he is starting somewhere for Kansas City by mid-July. Still, if we are counting on Myers to be the second coming, wouldn't it be nice if he was as prepared as possible to step in and play well both offensively and defensively?

Or do I have it wrong and developing super utility players is the new market efficiency.