With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2017 Padres, breaking the team down position-by position. Today, we preview San Diego's first basemen.There aren't any questions surrounding the Padres' first-base situation entering Spring Training this year. If all goes according to plan, they won't
With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2017 Padres, breaking the team down position-by position. Today, we preview San Diego's first basemen.
There aren't any questions surrounding the Padres' first-base situation entering Spring Training this year. If all goes according to plan, they won't have to answer any questions there until at least 2023.
• Around the Horn:Catcher
William Myers ensured himself a long-term future in San Diego this offseason, signing a six-year contract extension with a team option for a seventh. And while Myers came to the Padres as an outfielder before the 2015 season, he's carved himself a niche as one of the better defensive first basemen in the National League.
"To have a player that should hit in the middle of the order, that should be one of the best defenders in the game of baseball -- that should take some pressure off [our young offense]," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "Whatever you want to call it, he's a stabilizer, a core piece."
Myers is coming off the best season of his young career -- and also the first fully healthy season of his career. He batted .259/.336/.461 with 28 homers and 28 steals -- joining Michael Trout as the only players to reach the 28-28 threshold.
Defensively, Myers was a revelation in his first full season at first base. He showcased elite range at the position and made very few mistakes. In the eyes of Preller, "He has the chance to be the best defensive first baseman in the game of baseball."
Myers isn't quite there yet. But he's added defensive prowess at first base to an impressive all-around skill set.
"We believe in complete baseball players, and that's what Wil Myers is," said Padres manager Andy Green. "He gets on base, he steals bases, he defends the field, he drives in runs. He's the definition of a complete baseball player."
To Myers, however, being a "complete" player doesn't necessarily mean he's a finished product. He was brilliant last June, posting one of the best months in Padres history. But he was dreadful offensively in May and August.
Perhaps that's to be expected from a player who received 676 plate appearances last year -- after averaging 329 in his first three big league seasons. After his breakout rookie campaign with Tampa Bay, Myers dealt with wrist injuries in both 2014 and '15.
"I have a lot of room to improve," Myers said. "Last year was really my first full season in the big leagues, from start to finish. I learned a lot through those 162 games, what it takes to go through the grind of all those games. I really do believe that I'm just scratching the surface of what I can accomplish."
So do the Padres, and that's why they locked up Myers, as the linchpin of their youth movement.
Projected starter: Myers
Potential backups:Yangervis Solarte, Brett Wallace
Top-30 prospects:Josh Naylor, No. 4
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.