June boom: Myers keeps mashing this month

June 17th, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- Wil Myers hasn't made much weak contact since the start of June. But even by his own lofty standards, Myers' laser home run -- in the fifth inning of Thursday night's 8-5 loss to the Nationals -- was absolutely pulverized.

The ball left Myers' bat at 113 mph, according to Statcast™, the highest exit velocity by a Padres hitter this season -- and the highest since a Justin Upton moonshot last September in Arizona.

"I squared that one up pretty well," Myers said. "I've hit some balls pretty far that I'd like to know how hard those were. But as far as exit velo, possibly that was the hardest."

Nobody has been hotter this month than Myers, who leads the Majors with eight homers in June and owns an average exit velocity of 95 mph this month, easily the best on the team. He's making a serious push for both All-Star and Home Run Derby consideration -- and has said he'd love to represent the host city at this year's Midsummer Classic.

Recently, hitting coach Alan Zinter tinkered with Myers' stance, having him load a split-second earlier. The results have been drastic, as Myers has sprayed the ball to all fields.

"He's had that opposite-field power all year," said Padres manager Andy Green. "But now he's got the ability to cover all pitches at this point in time. He looks great."

Myers finished 2-for-3 on Thursday, and he capped his night with a double that initially appeared to be his second home run. Myers smacked a 3-1 offering from Felipe Rivero toward the right-field seats, and the ball disappeared for a moment, as the crowd began to celebrate. But, as it turned out, the baseball had simply lodged itself in a crevice at the bottom of the wall, under an illuminated screen that hid it from sight during its flight path.

Myers also drew a pair of walks, bringing his on-base percentage to .330 on the season -- its highest point since the beginning of May.

"My on-base percentage isn't what it usually is, especially in the Minor Leagues and even that first year in the big leagues," Myers said. "That's something I definitely want to be able to do -- get on base more and take those walks. If I'm taking walks, that means I'm seeing the ball a little better."

To put a bow on his solid all-around performance, Myers made a leaping snare at first base, taking away extra bases from Stephen Drew in the top of the eighth.

"He's tall, and he jumps high," Green quipped when asked about the play.

But, in Green's eyes, Myers has always been capable of making the athletic play. It's the nuance of the position which has been in question at times -- and that's understandable for a neophyte first baseman.

In that regard, Myers has improved drastically. On Thursday, Green noticed Myers creeping in to guard against a bunt with pitcher Tanner Roark in the on-deck circle. But before anyone from the Padres could holler at him, Myers had corrected himself, and re-positioned well behind the bag.

"He's catching himself," said Green. "He's thinking through the game and those are steps to becoming an elite defender."