What if Wil Myers Stopped Running?

According to ESPN’s Fantasy Player Rater, Wil Myers is ranked 3rd amongst all first basemen and 11th out of all hitters. There is no doubt he is having a great season and is finally living up to the lofty expectations set up for him since he was a minor leaguer. Much of his value, however, is derived from his 21 steals, which leads all of first basemen. The high steals has never really been in his repertoire before, so I wonder how much we should rely on this year’s numbers moving forward.

First, I wanted to see how much of a runner Wil Myers has been in the past. Now, the ideal way to do this is to calculate how often Myers tried to steal an open bag, which is impossible to do with the data I am using. I could’ve figured out how many steals he had per 1B/BB/HBP, but that doesn’t take into account times when he was walked with a runner blocking his way. So I went really basic and calculated how many Plate Appearances per steal did he produce in each season (PA/SB). Like golf, we are looking for a lower number to indicate a more effective stolen base record (I could’ve added caught stealing, but Myers has been caught a minimal amount of times that the data wouldn’t change drastically). Here are Wil Myers PA/SB numbers separated by season:

 

Wil Myers’ PA/SB
Year PA SB PA/SB
2009 96 2 48
2010 541 12 45.08333333
2011 522 10 52.2
2012 591 6 98.5
2013 662 12 55.16666667
2014 392 9 43.55555556
2015 280 7 40
2016 513 21 24.42857143

2012 looks to be a negative outlier for Myers, but the range before 2016 for Myers was between 40 and 55. That means for approximately every 47 plate appearances, Myers could’ve been expected to steal a bag. This is also not a case where Myers just never got on-base during those seasons, as he had multiple minor league seasons with OBP’s above .400, which is higher than his .349 clip this season. Then this season he jumps up (or down) to 24 PA/SB, which is an outlier from any other season. It is possible he has made a substantial change and could own this number. However, for the purposes of this article, we are going to assume he does not own this number. Who does he comp with if we take away those stolen bases?

Thanks to my buddy, Aaron Smith, I am now able to run comps for whatever statistics I want for 2016. For this article, I used HRs, AVG, OBP, and SLG to see who are suitable comps for Wil Myers. I left off RBIs and Runs because there are too many uncontrollable factors to consider that we would never find a suitable comp. For AVG, OBP, and SLG, I set the data up to find guys who were within 7% of Myers in all three categories. For HRs, I set the data to find guys who were within 10% of Myers (in other words, 2 home runs). Here is the comp list we came up with:

Wil Myers’ Comps
Name HR AVG OBP SLG OPS
Wil Myers 23 0.273 0.349 0.487 0.836
Justin Turner 23 0.278 0.345 0.516 0.861
Kyle Seager 22 0.285 0.360 0.509 0.869
Marcell Ozuna 22 0.281 0.336 0.498 0.834
Neil Walker 22 0.279 0.341 0.470 0.811
Ian Kinsler 22 0.284 0.342 0.479 0.822
George Springer 23 0.256 0.356 0.458 0.814

Not a lot of sexy names on this list, although Springer and Ozuna are guys I can see going higher based on upside as owners who love those players don’t want to miss the bust-out that may have come for Ozuna, and has yet to come for Springer. Seager seems to have the best overall profile with these numbers, but gets overshadowed by an extremely top heavy third base class.

What does this mean for your fantasy team?

Really depends on how much you buy those stolen bases. If you think he will sustain this rate and continue to steal 20 bags a season, then I wasted your time and outside of Springer and his SB potential, I wouldn’t group these guys with Myers. However, if you believe the SBs may be a mirage, then these are some players who may get you similar value for less of the cost than Myers.

We hoped you liked reading What if Wil Myers Stopped Running? by Paul Kastava!

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OddBall Herrera
Member
OddBall Herrera

Some of this question is answered in a previous post:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-padres-are-running-like-crazy-people/

His stealing more could be part of a larger org philosophy, in which case, as long as his org doesn’t change, this might be a real change in his expected performance.

But I do agree there is a little of Anthony Rendon 2014 here, where a big part of the value breakout was SBs that may or may not be there next year.