Is Wil Myers’ Move to Third Base Affecting His Offense?

Credit: Getty Images

Could the move to third base be affecting Wil Myers offensively, as he has clearly struggled since the change.

Wil Myers has jumped around to multiple positions since coming to the San Diego Padres before the 2015 season.

He has played center field, left field, right field, first base and now third base.

His bat has usually followed him well to these different positions. His batting average as an outfielder or a first baseman has stayed between .245 and .267, pretty consistent. However, in the 18 games he has played as a third baseman, his average has dropped to .197 in those games, along with just one home run and a 74 wRC+.

For reference, he is a lifetime .253 hitter with a 110 wRC+.

Is playing third base affecting his production at the plate? Or are all of these position changes finally getting to him? Or is he just not healthy still? Something has been different since he made the move.

Myers has struggled to stay healthy this year. However, in the 44 games he played before switching to third this year, he hit a solid .273 with nine home runs and a 125 wRC+, all very healthy offensive numbers. Those numbers have plummeted since the switch.

Let’s take a look at Myers’ numbers before and after making the switch this season. Again, this might be due to health more than the position change but the difference is obvious, whatever the cause.

Before Switch to 3B
AVG OPS WRC+ O-SWING% LD%
0.273 0.834 125 33.8 28

 

After  Switch to 3B
AVG OPS WRC+ O-SWING% LD%
0.197 0.606 74 33 22.7

 

It looks like he is swinging at pitches outside of the zone at the same rate. His line drive rate is down, which makes his balls in play easier to reach for an out. Something else that might help identify the cause of this offensive drop off for Myers are the pitches he is seeing.

Before Switch to 3B
FB% SLD% CURV%
49.6 16.4 14.8

 

After Switch to 3B
FB% SLD% CURV%
39.5 24.8 13.8

This is something somewhat outside of Myers’ control. He is seeing far less fastballs and more sliders. Naturally, when a power hitter sees less fast balls, his power numbers usually dip a bit.

Credit: AP Photo

So what is the real cause of his decline over the past three weeks? It’s hard to say exactly. He is being more patient at the plate, with his walk rate going from 6% to 13.2% in those time frames mentioned above. He is seeing slightly less pitches in the strike zone, from 42.1% in the zone to start the year to now 37.9% since switching to third base.

It’s doubtful that pitchers are pitching him different just because he switched to third base.

Could it be just a run of bad luck? Myers has a lifetime BABIP of .311. That number since moving to the hot corner is down to .273.

Or could it be his attitude towards this season and the team’s manager?

In conclusion, it does not look like there is a direct cause between Myers switching to third base and his dip in production.  It could be due to a host of different things from making less hard contact, seeing less fastballs and just sheer bad luck. It could just be bad timing with his switch.

If his swing percentage of balls outside of the zone had gone up and his walk rate gone down, then yes, one could say he might be pressing with his new position. For now, it’s a coincidence with Myers struggling to find a rhythm after being on the shelf for so long.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

5 thoughts on “Is Wil Myers’ Move to Third Base Affecting His Offense?

  1. in most ways i feel bad for Wil, except for when you look at how much they paid him. Preller is a weird gm. you pay a guy that much and then dont have a place for him in the field. interesting planning. its a mess though and even if Wil is a decent player we’re never going to know on this team because the outfield is crowded and the most expensive average player in history is now on first base. maybe in the offseason Preller can talk Ryan Howard out of retirement and give him 100 mill to play 1B too. Too bad for Josh Naylor too. He wasnt considered high ceiling when we got him from the marlins and next year hes gonna be knocking on the door. what did i just say? oh yeah, interesting planning.

  2. Well look on the bright side, by the end of all of this Wil will have racked up 400 or 500 more AB’s, 80 million more dollars and should be much more solid in Fortnite. Personally I think that he’d do better playing emulators of old Atari games but that’s just me. I wonder if he gets any advantages on pre-ordering new games? I’d assume so, considering he’s a bona fide MLB star. I wonder if Andy Green will be managing by the time Wil finishes his contract… My bet is yes, and I imagine Valhalla or Granite Hills might take a look at him- or El Cajon Valley HS. You never know. Regardless, we’re just lucky to have these guys here. Maybe Hosmer can stay in SD and open a restaurant when his contract is over.

  3. Another awesome investment by Preller. A career .253 hitter, that has been on the DL nearly half his career, and is due 60 million plus in 2020- 2022. Of course the right move is to trade him with all the outfield options we have, but it will never happen with that contract.

  4. While I agree about it being a small sample size, I do think a chunk of it is attitude which finally came out in him bitching up a storm. Honestly I don’t know how someone who has agreed to move position four times can end up looking like a malcontent but damned if Myers hasn’t succeeded.

  5. The answer is “Small sample size”. There will be hot streaks and slumps. This is a slump, that is all. His OPS this year is .761. His career OPS is .768. Seems like he’s just being Wil Myers.
    On attitude, I always remember Curt Floods’ autobiography where he writes about coming up with St. Louis at the tail end of Stan Musial’s career, and him being impressed by Musial’s work ethic. Also after “the flip” when Derek Jeter spoke about how this was something the team practiced in Spring training. The great ones practice until it comes naturally to them. The crap ones complain about it and get hit in the nose on a routine play.

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