To say that Wil Myers is miles ahead of where he was last year at this time is an understatement.
The Royals' No. 2 prospect was 3-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored as Northwest Arkansas beat Springfield, 6-3, on Thursday.
Myers, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, hit a solo homer over the left-field wall in the third inning. After doubling in the fifth, he singled and scored on Mario Lisson's RBI two-bagger in the seventh.
"I feel pretty good at the plate," Myers said. "At the beginning of the year, I was pulling on some balls. Now I'm trying to stay to the center of the field and it's paying off for me."
Myers homered for the second straight game and has a hit in 17 of the 18 games he's played this season. The 2009 third-round pick is batting .342 with six homers and 14 RBIs for the Naturals. Contrast that with his numbers from 2011, when he slugged eight homers and drove in 49 runs the entire season.
"I definitely learned a lot from my 2011 season," Myers said. "I learned how to deal with failure and what to do when that happens. Last season was the best as far as learning curve. It was big."
Myers credits a stint in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League for helping to prepare him for this season. The North Carolina native batted .360 with a 1.156 OPS in 23 games for Surprise and was named to the Rising Stars Game.
"I went to the fall league and went back to the basics as far as hitting," Myers said. "I was real proud of myself rebounding after that. I could have laid down but I felt like I had something prove going into the Fall League, and I was able to do that."
After driving in a career-high five runs on April 14, Myers developed strep throat and was out of action for two days.
"That was tough coming off that game and having to miss time," the 21-year-old outfielder said. "It's never good to miss time during the season because it throws you off. A couple of games after that, I didn't do so well and I'm just trying to get back on track."
Lisson doubled twice and drove in three runs while Rey Navarro collected three runs as the Naturals won their fourth straight game.
Oscar Taveras, the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect, was 2-for-4 with a solo homer to raise his average to .321 for Springfield.