Wil Myers’ jam-packed schedule just got busier. At least he’ll be right at home.
His 11-homer June fueling speculation that the Padres’ 25-year-old first baseman could represent the home team in next week’s Home Run Derby, Myers was finally revealed Thursday (Friday in Manila) as part of the eight-man field taking aim at Petco Park’s downtown skyline Monday night.
“That’s going to be pretty cool,” said Myers, who Steve Garvey (1985), Gary Sheffield (1992), Fred McGriff (1992) and Adrian Gonzalez (2009) as the only Padres to participate in the event; both McGriff and Sheffield also did it in front of a home crowd at Jack Murphy Stadium. “To be in front of the home crowd, I’m going to have the fans behind me. Once I get that first one and the crowd gets behind me, who knows what can happen?
“Maybe I can get some momentum.”
He already has tons.
Myers’ 19 home runs are already a career-high, his 13 in 45 games at pitcher-friendly Petco Park are already two shy of the record 15 hit by Will Venable (2013) and Justin Upton (2015) and his 1.197 OPS (on-base plus slugging) since the start of June leads all National League hitters.
As such, it was of little surprised when Myers – already an All-Star ambassador for the home team – was named most recent NL Player of the Month, let alone an official All-Star for the first time earlier this week.
“It’s been fun watching him play,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He’s played well. He’s improved. He plays with passion and energy. … He’s stealing bases. Every part of his game, every aspect of his game, he’s playing winning baseball, so that’s great to see, so the home run derby will be fun.
“It will be icing on the cake.”
Especially because of who’s throwing to Myers: 19-year-old kid brother Beau.
His freshman season at Appalachian State just completed, Beau Myers joined the Padres in Los Angeles on Thursday, threw to Myers in the indoor cage before regular batting practice and will throw to Myers on the field – sans cage – on Friday as part of their preparation for the real thing.
Myers chose his younger brother after learning that Coach Eddie Rodriguez – Myers’ regular BP pitcher – would be spending the All-Star break with his family.
“It’s exciting,” Beau Myers said upon arriving in the visiting clubhouse Thursday afternoon. “It’s something you dream about just being able to go to the All-Star Game. Being able to participate and throw to him is going to be a dream come true.”
Added Wil Myers: “I’m not looking at it as anything more than me and my brother going out there and hitting. I don’t want to put any more pressure on him and I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself.
“We’re just going to go out there and have fun and whatever happens, happens.”
Myers is seeded sixth in the derby and will face Reds outfielder Adam Duvall (22), the No. 3 seed, in the opening round. Mark Trumbo’s Major League-leading 26 homers makes him the top seed in the event, followed by followed by defending champ Todd Frazier (23 homers), No. 4 Robinson Cano (20) and No. 5 Giancarlo Stanton (19). The Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez (18) is the seventh seed and Dodgers rookie shortstop Corey Seager (17) rounds out the field.
The Cubs’ Kris Bryant – who ranks second in the majors with 25 – and Anthony Rizzo (20) were among several notable past participants to decline invitations.
The thought never crossed Myers’ mind, even in the midst of his first healthy season since he was the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year.
“I’m very excited about it,” Myers said. “It’s a big opportunity for me. It’s something I would never turn down. It’s something that I’ve always thought about growing up and the opportunity was available so I accepted it.”