Wil Myers Admits He Was “Young And Dumb” In Time With Rays

Coming into the Rays organization as the centerpiece of the trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City, Wil Myers certainly had a lot to live up to.

And he did so in his first crack at the big leagues in 2013, with 23 doubles, 13 home runs, 53 RBI, a .293/.354/.478 line and a .831 OPS in 88 games en route to becoming the franchise’s third player, and second position player to earn Rookie of the Year honors.

Unfortunately, that “glimpse” at what the future might hold with Myers in a Rays uniform was just that. A glimpse.

An injury-riddled campaign that saw the outfielder hit just .222/.294/.320 with a .614 OPS, 13 doubles, six home runs and 35 RBI is what followed. And that, along with issues in the clubhouse with the way he rubbed some players and went about his business, led to his plane ticket to San Diego.

But after yet another injury-riddle season in his first in a Padres uniform, the now 25-year-old Myers is enjoying a breakout season. An All-Star selection, 24 doubles, 23 home runs, 21 stolen bases, 70 RBI and a .276/.352/.495 line with a .847 OPS were what Rays fan envisioned him doing with their team.

Wil Myers

And Myers, who admitted it was weird to walk back into Tropicana Field for the first time as a visiting player, wishes he could have done more for them.

He also wasn’t afraid to admit that he was a little immature in his time with the Rays.

“I didn’t necessarily know what it was like to be a big leaguer and playing every single day. I was kind of young and dumb, but that kind of comes with the growing pains,” said Myers. “I felt like this year was the first year I really learned how to play the game the right way. That’s something I wish I could have gave Tampa a little more, but it’s better to learn later than never.”

And while Myers was “definitely surprised” when he was traded, he also believes it might have been the reality check he needed to become the player he is now.

Obviously winning the Rookie of the Year, you think you’re going to be in a place for a while,” said Myers. “I definitely thought I was going to be here. It definitely came as a surprise to me (to get traded) but that’s the way this game works.

“It definitely could have been (the reality check I needed). I wouldn’t change anything that’s happened. With the way everything’s going this year I’m glad that I was able to kind of change scenery and learn the game a little bit better.”

It also helps that Myers is finally healthy and able to get consistent at-bats at the major league level.

But he said he’ll always remember his time with Tampa Bay, including the fact that he was able to be a part of a playoff run in his first season at the major league level.

“That’s something I’ll never forget.”

Matt Stein is a season-credentialed media member covering the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also assisting with coverage of USF Athletics. He attended the University of Tampa and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Sport Management.