The Royals have made all the right moves with their farm system, and according to Baseball America, the team now has the No. 1 farm system in all of baseball. The team has developed a whole slew of offensive, defensive and pitching threats, and with any luck, a few years down the road that stockpile will result in big-league success.
But this week, they made a move that I believe seriously hurts their long-term success.
The Royals have moved Wil Myers from catcher to outfield.
Wil Myers will be a fine outfielder, I’m sure. My disagreement is that he could have been an outstanding catcher, the kind of catcher the Royals have never had – a great young catcher they could build a franchise around.
The kind like they have on that team across the state.
Yadier Molina-type catchers don’t come along very often. And the Royals had one. No, scratch that – they had one who had the potential to be much better, at least offensively, than Molina.
Now, though, instead of a great catching prospect, Wil Myers is just a good outfield prospect.
According to the above-linked article from the Kansas City Star, the Royals made the move in order to expedite Myers’ climb through the farm system to the majors. They say his bat is nearly major league ready, but his catching skills are not where they should be.
That’s all fine and good, but my question is: What’s the hurry? The Royals will probably not be ready to compete until 2012 at the very earliest, but probably 2013 or ’14 is more likely. So why the big rush to get Wil Myers in Kansas City?
In terms of baseball economics, outfield prospects are a dime a dozen. True, the Royals don’t have any great outfield prospects right now, but besides Myers, they don’t have any great catching prospects either (albeit a couple good ones). When the team is ready, the Royals can obtain power-hitting outfielders on the free agent market. They’re available every offseason, and the organization is stockpiling money for the purpose of supplementing the roster in the future.
Great free agent catchers are almost non-existent.
Besides, the Royals’ homegrown power is gonna come from the corners of the infield, through No. 1 ranked first base prospect Eric Hosmer and No. 1 ranked third base prospect Mike Moustakas.
Wil Myers has a chance to be great at any position he plays. But I think the Royals have squandered an amazing opportunity by turning him into just another outfielder.
Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and an associate editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at email@example.com.