Sent to Double-A Northwest Arkansas for the second consecutive year, Wil Myers was disappointed. Then he came to a realization.
"This is the only league I haven't had success in," he said, "so I felt coming back, I had something to prove."
Just about a month into the season, he seems to have made his point.
The Royals' No. 2 prospect homered for the fourth time in his past five games and extended his hitting streak to 14 straight Monday as the Naturals defeated the Tulsa Drillers, 6-2.
Myers collected a single in addition to his longball, raising his average to .339. He has recorded at least one hit in 27 of 28 games this year and ranks second in the Texas League with 10 home runs.
"I'm taking advantage of good pitches left over the plate," he said. "I do have a few strikeouts in those game -- pitchers are making good pitches -- but I've been able to take advantage of some pitches. I'm just staying with my approach and getting lucky, I guess. I'm having a good start so far and am trying to keep it up."
Myers struck out and grounded into a double play in his first two at-bats against Drillers starter Joe Gardner. He adjusted after those two plate appearances, however and in the fifth, he took the first pitch he saw from Gardner over the left-field wall for a solo home run.
"[Gardner] is a good sinker/slider guy," Myers said. "He pounded me inside in my first two at-bats -- struck me out in the first one and jammed me in the second one. I shortened up my stance, and when I do that, I have more leverage inside. I got something low and in and I was able to hit it."
Myers added a bloop single in the sixth before striking out in his final at-bat in the eighth.
A third-round selection in 2009, Myers batted .254 with eight home runs in 99 games for the Naturals last season. The 21-year-old outfielder has already passed his home run total from last year, and he is more than halfway (79) to his total bases (139).
"The biggest difference for me is confidence," Myers said. "I'm going up there with a lot of confidence knowing I'm going to get a hit. Even though I'm not [going to get a hit every time], I just think that every at-bat."
Myers said the knee injury that kept him out for nearly a month in 2011 might have hindered him a bit at the plate. Though he changed positions from catcher to outfield as well, he said that was not an issue.
"I got off to a slow start, got hot and then got hurt," he said. "It was the first time I've missed baseball [games] in my life. The position change didn't really have anything to do with it. They were confidence issues. I could never get anything going at the plate -- I was in the cage and couldn't get anything going for me."
Though Myers has put up some of the best numbers in the Texas League this year, he said he is not worried about a promotion to Triple-A.
"My first year, I was kind of bummed out to go to Low-A for some reason," Myers said. "I don't know why I thought I was good enough to go to High-A. I told myself, 'Have a good 100 at-bats and you'll be out of here in no time.' And I really struggled. I really learned from that, just trying to have good at-bats every day and play hard and have fun. I'm in no rush to get out of here. It's a great setup."