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Myers walking the walk to increased OBP

MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Wil Myers is red-hot at the dish this spring, with seven hits in 17 at-bats, including two homers and a double.

That's nothing new. The Padres first baseman already has proven himself perfectly capable of slugging.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Wil Myers is red-hot at the dish this spring, with seven hits in 17 at-bats, including two homers and a double.

That's nothing new. The Padres first baseman already has proven himself perfectly capable of slugging.

But there's another development in Myers' stat line that should please the Padres more than his batting average. He's already drawn six walks going into Friday's game against the Angels, and it's a welcome improvement from his on-base woes at the end of last year.

Video: SD@CWS: Myers delivers an RBI single in the 7th

"This Spring Training is the best I've felt, just as far as seeing the ball," Myers said. "I'm seeing spin a lot better right now than I ever have this early."

Myers finished last season with a .336 on-base percentage -- above league average, but not up to his standards. He reached base at a .354 clip during his rookie season in 2013 with Tampa Bay, and would like to get back to that mark -- if not higher.

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"I didn't walk enough last year, and my on-base percentage was not where I wanted it to be," Myers said. "So that's definitely a goal of mine this year -- to take my walks. Once Matt [Kemp] got traded last year, I tried to do a little too much, instead of taking what they gave me. I tried to do too much myself."

There's plenty to debate about the merits of lineup protection. Myers said the difference was more mental than anything else. In the two months prior to the Kemp trade, Myers drew 36 walks and posted an on-base percentage of .391. After the deal, Myers walked 20 times and reached base at a .312 clip.

Of course, there are plenty of other explanations for Myers' OBP dip. In the eyes of manager Andy Green, workload is the likeliest cause. Last season was the first in which Myers played a full year's worth of games at the big league level. And -- as the Padres' All-Star -- he didn't get a breather.

"Genuinely, I think it had to do with the stress and the length of a season, more so than who's hitting behind him," Green said.

This spring, Green feels as though Myers has recaptured his midseason plate approach from last year.

"We want Wil very aggressive on fastballs in his zone," Green said. "That's been the message to him, which means everything outside of that, he can let go. He's done that very well this spring. He's driven balls out of the yard, and he's still taking his walks. In an ideal world, that's complete production from a hitter."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.a

San Diego Padres, Wil Myers