Padres like Myers' aggressive leadoff approach
Although not prototypical, center fielder contributes quality at-bats
CHICAGO -- In his first 51 plate appearances this season, Padres' leadoff hitter, center fielder Wil Myers, hasn't taken a walk and has seen the fifth fewest pitches per plate appearance among National League leadoff hitters (3.40).
But instead of lamenting what Myers doesn't bring to the leadoff spot, the team likes what Myers does have to offer at the top of the order.
"Everyone has their own style of how they play, and Wil, being the prototypical leadoff hitter isn't who he is," said Padres manager Bud Black. "[We want him to] be aggressive and do what he does.
"Ultimately, down the road, we'll see where he sets up in the batting order. But for now, and with this group, it makes sense for him to lead off."
Going into Sunday's finale with the Cubs, Myers was hitting .300 with one home run and seven RBIs in 50 at-bats. He's raised his average from .241 to .300 in the past week, when he has had three multihit games.
First-year hitting coach Mark Kotsay likes what he's seen from Myers and hasn't asked him to become something he isn't. They don't want to take away one of his best attributes: his aggressiveness.
"I think in terms of growth and development, we've seen him swing early, we've seen him take pitches. He's done a good job adjusting to the role," Kotsay said. " … But by no means do we expect him to be a prototypical leadoff hitter who is strictly an on-base guy.
"We don't have the expectation for him to see a lot of pitches. The competitiveness of the at-bat and quality of the plate appearance, at this point, he's done a good job of it."
Myers, in a small sample size, has been good attacking early in the count. In fact, he had six hits in 11 at-bats when swinging at the first pitch.
"At the start of the game, he's pretty imposing for the pitcher, because that ball can leave the park. With Wil, we just want him to have quality at-bats. We do think he has good plate discipline. He'll continue to grow as a hitter. He doesn't have a lot of at-bats in the Majors. He'll continue to get better," Black said.