That cant-miss label on Class AAA Omaha outfielder Wil Myers just got a little bigger following his selection Tuesday by Baseball America and USA Today as Minor League Player of the Year.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Honored to receive such a prestigious award from Baseball America, Myers said in a response on his Twitter account. Thanks to everyone for the amazing support over the last year!
The Baseball America award was announced early in the day. USA Today followed around 5 p.m. USA Today announced its balloting: Myers received 10 of 11 votes from an 11-member panel and two additional votes from an online vote.
Myers, 21, won the honor in recognition of a breakthrough season in which he batted .314 with 37 homers and 109 RBIs in 134 games at Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
I feel like every time I go to the plate, Myers told USA Today, Im going to get a hit or hit the ball hard somewhere. I stood up in my stance, and that has given me more leverage on the ball. It really creates a lot better backspin.
The Royals remain hesitant to promote Myers to the big leagues largely because of looming off-season roster issues. Club officials anticipate a crunch in setting their 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft in December at the Winter Meetings.
Since Myers doesnt yet require protection to avoid being draft-eligible, promoting him for a handful of games would force the club to allocate a 40-man spot that could be used this winter to protect another player.
One club official recently said Myers will come to spring training next year positioned to win a starting job.
Omaha concluded its regular season Monday but begins defense of its Pacific Coast League title Wednesday at home in the start to a best-of-five series against Albuquerque. Myers is batting .304 with 24 homers and 79 RBIs in 99 games since his promotion.
Myers is the third player in franchise history to win the Baseball America award since its inception in 1981. Right-handed pitcher Tom Gordon was the 1988 recipient; and Alex Gordon, then a third baseman, won in 2006.
The USA Today award, which dates to 1988, has never been won by a Royals player.
Myers is the seventh player to win both awards. The others were Braves outfielder Andruw Jones (1995-96), Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel (1999), Marlins pitcher Josh Beckett (2001), Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis (2004), Braves outfielder Jason Heyward (2009) and Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (2010).
Myers was a third-round pick in 2009 who received a $2 million bonus to turn down a college scholarship. He entered this season ranked by Baseball America as the baseballs 25th best overall prospect.
The award adds to his growing list of achievements.
Myers had two hits and three RBIs in the All-Star Futures Game on July 8 at Kauffman Stadium and was selected three days later as the PCLs Star of Stars in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
The PCL recently picked Myers as one of 12 members on its all-league team.