Back in the days when he was an Angels scout, before he became one of baseball's most successful managers for the Rays, Joe Maddon had an unusual way of deciding whether to recommend a first-year player for the Draft.
"One of the last tests I gave myself was to imagine whatever player I was going to put in on the Draft. Could I see him walking out on the field at Yankee Stadium, back towards me, his name on the back? Could I visualize that? And if I can, I put him in," Maddon explained.
It was easy for Maddon on Monday to imagine Wil Myers, who is ranked the organization's No. 1 prospect by MLB.com, trotting onto the field to play against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, and not just because the Rays were, in fact, playing the Sox and Myers started in right field at JetBlue Park, with its replica Green Monster looming in left. The 22-year-old wunderkind who was the centerpiece of the trade that sent All-Star right-hander James Shields to the Royals last September has made such a good impression since joining his new club this spring.
"Real good. I like him," Maddon said. "The offense is obvious. It is special. It is going to be very special. He's got one of those unique styles. Oftentimes I think some really great players do things that are unique to them, and how he sets up and the way his bottom half works and how he uses his hands are slightly unique to him. You don't see it often, so I like that part of it."
Myers, too, allowed his mind to roam to Boston, standing and staring at the famous likeness for a few minutes after arriving at the ballpark.
"It was really cool playing here, with the Green Monster and everything," Myers said after going 0-for-3 in the Rays' 5-1 loss. "It was cool. I did think about that."
In stops at Double-A and Triple-A last season, Myers batted a combined .314 with 37 homers, 109 RBIs and a .987 OPS.
Maddon continues to be impressed by Myers
MLB.com | Mar 4