Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig caught the world by storm when he was called up to the Majors. He had game-winning hits, threw guys out with his arm and hit for power and average. His rookie cards are going for $50+ and his autographs are fetching a couple hundred dollars on eBay.
On the other side of the coin, Tampa Bay Rays rookie Wil Myers was called up soon after Puig with less fanfare, even though Myers was most well-known prospect in the minor leagues. He started off a bit slow, but is turning into a better player than Puig.
Puig has plateaued a bit and Myers is currently on a hot streak, yet SportsCenter gives more attention to Puig. I understand he’s in a bigger market than Myers, but that will soon change.
Wil Myers is better than Yasiel Puig and will be for the rest of his career…and here’s why.
Going into the 2013 season, Myers was one of the top prospects in the game. He was in the top-three on nearly every major Top 100 list. On those same lists, Puig ranged from 40 to 80. I know preseason prospect rankings aren’t the be all, end all, but Myers has proven at every level that he’s ready. Puig didn’t have the luxury of learning the game slowly.
Puig had 229 minor league at-bats, none higher than Double-A. He didn’t show elite power, but did bat for average. Myers had over 1600 at-bats with the same aptitude to hit for average and the potential to hit for power. He did all this while learning a new position (Myers converted from catcher to outfielder). He’s much more seasoned and proven than Puig is at this point and they’re both 22 years old.
The scouting report is getting better on Puig, who has a penchant for chasing high fastballs. His reckless baserunning and all or nothing defense will catch up to him. Once a team faces him for a few series, he will be figured out. Teams already have a full scouting report on Myers from his extensive minor league play. Teams are still having trouble with him, even with all their knowledge.
The x-factor in both of their development could be the market in which they play. All eyes will be on the Dodgers, especially since they have a new television deal worth billions. He’ll get huge endorsement deals and be on nationally-televised games nearly every week. On the other hand, Myers won’t have the type of scrutiny Puig will face that comes with a bigger market. The Rays might be a better team for most of their tenures, but will not garner the same attention. We’ve seen players not be able to handle the L.A. and New York markets, the same cannot be said about the Tampa Bay area. There is much less pressure on Myers to succeed. This will benefit him in the short-term while he continues to develop.
I’m not saying Puig couldn’t be a multi-year All-Star. I think he’ll be a really good player…but, if I were to put money on a guy who could potentially be a league MVP, I’d go all-in on Myers.