PEORIA, Ariz. — In October, Wil Myers — never one to set the bar low — proclaimed his desire to reach 30 homers and 30 steals in 2017. Evidently, his goal has changed a bit.
Myers arrived in Padres camp Thursday, a day before the full squad is set to report, with a new target in mind: He wants 40-40.
“After the season, I just thought to myself, ‘Why not set the bar very high for myself and give me that high goal I want to shoot for?'” Myers said. “I think it’s something that definitely can be done. Obviously, that’s the highest peak. But it’s something I’m shooting for.”
A student of the game, Myers is savvy enough to understand the audacity of his new goal. Only four players in history have recorded 40-40 seasons, and it’s a rather elite list: Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco.
In Myers’ eyes, however, there’s no reason to set a goal that doesn’t force him to seek greatness.
Myers finished the 2016 season with 28 homers and 28 steals — joining Mike Trout as the only players in the Majors to hit the 28-28 threshold last season. During the offseason, Myers inked a six-year, $83 million extension, the largest contract in franchise history. In short, his ambition was part of the reason the club was so willing to commit long-term.
“Anything’s possible for Wil,” said manager Andy Green. “I’m glad he’s got big goals out in front of him. The main goal I have is very process-oriented for him — that through the ups and downs of a Major League Baseball season, he stays consistent with who he is in the clubhouse and as a person. If he stays consistent, his unbelievable ability will play out.”
If 2016 is any indication, consistency will be the biggest challenge awaiting Myers this year.
During his peaks, he was one of the best hitters in baseball. In June, Myers posted a 1.194 OPS, earning National League Player of the Month honors. His 11 homers were the most ever by a Padre in June.
In the two months surrounding June, however, Myers posted a combined .660 OPS with four dingers.
“The biggest thing with consistency is just reverting back to the experience I had last year when I was going through a tough time,” Myers said. “I was beating myself up in the cage, spending an hour, hour and a half a day trying to figure out my swing.
“This year I’m going to just kind of ride the wave. … I’m going to go through those tough times. Whenever it comes around, it will. You just go about your work the right way, and everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to.”
By AJ Cassavell