After days of speculation, the Tampa Bay Rays finally made it official on Sunday when they announced that top prospect Wil Myers has been promoted to the big league roster. He'll be in uniform and ready to go when the Rays visit Fenway Park for a day-night doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times was among the first to report the news following Tampa's 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. He also notes that infielder Ryan Roberts has been optioned to Triple-A Durham to make room on the 25-man roster.
Myers' promotion has been among the most aniticapted in baseball since he came over as the centerpiece in the trade that saw the Rays ship James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City. Many wondered if Myers might even make the opening day roster with a good spring. The Rays wisely held off on that decision, though, and then watched on as Myers got off to a relatively sluggish start — .263/.344/.441 with seven home runs through May 28.
He's since caught fire, hitting seven home runs over the past 18 days while raising his average to .283. It's said the Rays have been particularly impressed with the adjustments Myers has made at the plate throughout the season, and it appears they're confident he can continue making them against big league pitching.
One thing is for sure, the 22-year-old outfielder will be given every opportunity to prove he's capable of hanging against big league pitching. Manager Joe Maddon reiterated that when meeting with the media on Sunday.
Here are those comments from Maddon, along with a little bit more information from Topkins in his Times article.
"He's going to play a lot," manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course you don't bring somebody like that up to sit around."
There has always been a lot of expectations placed on Myers, last year's minor league player of the year, since he was the key chip in the offseason trade of RHP James Shields to the Royals. But Maddon said while "outside" expectations are high, they're going to try to "ease him in," hitting him lower in the lineup and telling him to just be one of nine.
If any team would know how to ease a prospect into their mix in a precise manner, it would certainly be the Rays. They've been doing it well for years with players such as Evan Longoria, David Price and Jeremy Hellickson. Myers is in very good hands, which should ease the transition quite a bit. He also possess a world of talent. which means the future is bright in Tampa.