Royals prospect Wil Myers
was a catcher through the 2010 season.
Then he became a right fielder in 2011.
In 2012, he has played primarily center field, with a couple of games at third base and a handful in right field with Triple-A Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas before that.
So where does the future lie for Kansas City's No. 2 prospect?
"Really the idea was just to create flexibility," said Scott Sharp, the Royals' director of Minor League operations. "We approached Wil and said, 'Hey, look, Chipper Jones was a shortstop and a third baseman and he broke into the big leagues as a left fielder. The reason he did was because his bat was ready and they had an established third baseman (Terry Pendleton).'
"So we just want to be able to create options with guys and not have them pegged at one position when they're talented enough to play other places on the field."
The seemingly obvious path to the Major Leagues for Myers is in right field, where the Royals have veteran Jeff Francouer in the final year of his contract.
"I think from a profile standpoint you could say that, but he plays a really good center field," Sharp said. "His routes and reads are outstanding. He's a better runner than most people think."
The Royals currently employ Mike Moustakas, a former top prospect, at third base, while their projected center fielder, Lorenzo Cain, has spent most of the season on the disabled list with a hip injury. Just because both of those players are relatively young and inexpensive, though, does not mean they are forever guaranteed to start at those positions.
"It obviously depends on the makeup of your Major-League team, but he can play center field in any league," Sharp said. "I think the fact that he can play the infield helps him as well.
"But I think ultimately he ends up in the outfield, whether it's center or right is to be determined."
Myers' bat prompted the Royals to make the initial switch from catcher to outfielder, but he ended up struggling (.254, eight home runs, 49 RBIs) at Double-A last season. Myers' return to elite hitting status this season has been well documented and he has not skipped a beat since coming to Omaha, batting .343 (23-for-67) with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 18 games.
"Without sounding too grand, I think he's a five-tool player," Sharp said. "He has a chance to be that type of guy and play in the center of the field."
Myers is also a right-handed hitter, something that could come in handy amid the Royals' collection of homegrown left-handed bats such as Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer.
"That adds another element that helps us and I don't think that's something that can't be overlooked as well," Sharp said.
No free passes: Round Rock closer Tanner Scheppers leads the circuit with 23 games finished and a big reason for that is his ability to throw strikes. Over his last 20 appearances, Scheppers has walked just one of the 79 batters he has faced, back on May 9 at Salt Lake. For the season, Scheppers is 1-2 with a 3.67 ERA and nine saves in 24 games.
Best intentions: Even the best of strategies can backfire late in games, as Tucson's Cory Burns found out the hard way Saturday. Burns gave up a leadoff double to Colorado Springs' Tommy Field, who went to third on a sacrifice bunt. Burns intentionally walked Hernan Iribarren and Andrew Brown to load the bases and set up a potential double play, but instead he plunked Brendan Harris to force in the winning run in an 8-7 Sky Sox victory.
Showdown series: Oakland A's prospect Grant Green went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs as Sacramento defeated Fresno, 10-7, on Friday to take three of four games in the matchup between the PCL's two best teams. The River Cats (35-22) won the first two games, 4-2 and 3-1, before the Grizzlies (36-20) won Thursday's contest, 2-1. It was the first meeting between the two California rivals this year and they will play again June 10-13 in Fresno.