SAN DIEGO -- The Padres end June with an off-day Thursday -- which is apparently the only thing capable of slowing down Wil Myers these days.With his ninth-inning double Wednesday afternoon, the Padres first baseman wrapped up an incredible month in which he batted .327/.429/.765 and set a franchise record
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres end June with an off-day Thursday -- which is apparently the only thing capable of slowing down Wil Myers these days.
With his ninth-inning double Wednesday afternoon, the Padres first baseman wrapped up an incredible month in which he batted .327/.429/.765 and set a franchise record for June home runs (11) and RBIs (33). In the process, Myers thrust himself squarely into contention for a place in next month's festivities at Petco Park -- both the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard and the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
It wouldn't be hyperbole to say Myers' June was one of the best months in Padres history, placing him among quite a few Padres legends:
Dave Winfield, July 1979: .393/.480/.710, 9 HRs
Tony Gwynn, June 1987: .473/.524/.667, HR
Fred McGriff, May 1992: .392/.478/.680, 6 HRs
Ken Caminiti, August 1996: .344/.427/.844, 14 HRs
Gwynn, May 1997: .447/.478/.650, 4 HRs
Greg Vaughn, May 1998: .330/.411/.752, 12 HRs
Phil Nevin, August 2000: .394/.488/.740, 9 HRs
Ryan Klesko, May 2001: .354/.464/.788, 11 HRs
That's just a sample, and based on the numbers, it's no stretch to say Myers belongs on that list. Even if his June isn't the best single month in franchise history, it's probably the best offensive month by a Padre in the past 15 years.
"You're talking about elite players that have months like that," said Padres manager Andy Green. "Average players might throw together the batting average, they might have the power. They don't have both. It's elite players that put together the average and the power.
"It's fun to see, and it's fun to think that that's going to be his future, because the talent is there to do that."
Myers' June is particularly impressive given that he was coming off a month in which he batted just .229 with a .597 OPS. In May, he recorded six extra-base hits -- a total he surpassed in just five days this month.
Around the time the calendar turned, Padres hitting coach Alan Zinter made a tweak to Myers' swing. To start the year, his stance was more upright, and he used a small step forward and toward the plate. Check out Myers' front foot below:
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Myers couldn't quite get his timing right, and he wasn't generating any power to his pull side. That's when Zinter and Myers lowered the center of gravity and developed a short leg kick.
It negated any of Myers' overeager tendencies and allowed him to make more powerful contact, given the extra torque behind his swing. Notice the difference?
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"This push back that I have now really allows me to stay back on my back side," Myers said. "I believe it really has a lot to do with the power numbers. I'm able to fire out of the back side."
That simple change has thrust Myers into the All-Star conversation -- though first base in the National League is one of the most crowded positions. But even with the stellar seasons from Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo and Brandon Belt, Myers' 3.0 WAR, according to Fangraphs, is the highest of any big league first baseman.
It's not just Myers' bat that makes him so effective. He has swiped 11 bags, while being caught just once, and boasts the highest ultimate zone rating (6.4) of any first baseman.
"To be able to put together this half of a season at 100-percent healthy is big for me, and putting it together before the All-Star break is big as well," said Myers, who is eager for the chance to represent the hometown club at the Midsummer Classic. "I would love to make this game. I would love to make this team to prove to myself that these last two years were flukes because of the injuries."
Myers followed his American League Rookie of the Year Award-winning campaign in 2013 with the Rays with a pair of subpar ones in which he combined for just 147 games due to wrist ailments and 14 home runs -- four fewer than his total through 76 games this season.
"This [month] is probably the most meaningful [in my career], coming after two years of not doing anything, being in and out of the lineup," Myers said. "I'm finally getting consistent at-bats, so I've been able to do this -- and I know this is something I'm very capable of doing."
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.