Baseball America announced its annual minor league player of the year today and the winner is Royals prospect Wil Myers, who hit .314 with 37 homers in 134 games between Double-A and Triple-A at age 21.
J.J. Cooper’s lengthy article about Myers includes this interesting tidbit: He joins Paul Konerko, Troy Glaus, Jose Canseco, and Mike Moustakas as the only minor leaguers in the past 40 years to hit at least 35 homers in a season above Single-A before their 22nd birthday.
Myers came into this season as a top prospect, ranking 28th on Baseball America‘s annual list, but his power was in question after totaling just 27 homers in his first 247 games as a pro. His newfound power came with a big increase in strikeouts, but Myers still managed to hit .317 despite being very young for the levels of competition and the catcher-turned-outfielder will likely enter next season as arguably the best hitting prospect in baseball.
He also joins some pretty great company as Baseball America‘s minor league player of the year. Mike Trout won the award last season and the five winners before that were Jeremy Hellickson, Jason Heyward, Matt Wieters, Jay Bruce, and Alex Gordon.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.