The last 12 months have been eventful for the Royals' Wil Myers
, whom MLB.com recently named its No. 16 prospect
. A third-round pick out of Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, N.C., in the 2009 Draft, the 20-year-old began last season with Class A Burlington. There he worked diligently on his defensive skills as a catcher, a position with which he did not have vast experience.
He got off to a rough start with the Bees, batting just .191 after 12 games and .232 by the end of April. After that, however, Myers tore the cover off the ball for the next four months. He cut down on his strikeouts and became more patient at the plate, leading to a .330 average in May and a .306 mark in June before his promotion to Class A Advanced Wilmington.
Myers collected three hits and a pair of RBIs in his debut with the Blue Rocks and never looked back. In 58 Carolina League games, he hit .346 with a .453 on-base percentage and a .512 slugging mark.
During the offseason, the Royals decided to move Myers to the outfield in an effort to get his big bat to the Major Leagues more quickly. MiLB.com spoke with him as he participated in Royals camp in Surprise, Ariz.
MiLB.com: How's your Spring Training going so far?
Wil Myers: I had kind of a rough game today -- 0-for-4 with three punchouts -- but in general, it's going really well.
MiLB.com: You've been playing outfield this spring after spending last year as a catcher and designated hitter. How's the move working out? You played some outfield in high school, right?
Myers: Yeah, I spent some time out there in school. The transition here is going good -- the adjustments have actually been easier than I'd expected. I've been working with the coaches "power-shagging" fly balls in morning drills.
MiLB.com: You got off to a slow start last year in Burlington, then really caught fire the rest of the way. What kind of adjustments did you make to turn things around?
Myers: I'd put a lot of pressure on myself and set some goals that were maybe not reasonable. At the plate, I was just swinging at everything. I was working with the hitting coach and trying to be more patient -- to sit back and wait for the right pitch -- and things just flowed from that.
MiLB.com: You were second in the Royals organization in walks (85) last year. Is drawing walks part of your plan at the plate, or more the result of teams pitching around you?
Myers: I don't come up looking for a walk, no, but I do want to lay off bad pitches. Being patient and waiting for pitches you can handle pays off in a lot of ways.
MiLB.com: In 2009, you played the high school season and then 22 pro games. In 2010, you played in 126 games, including 75 as a catcher. How hard was it for you to adjust to the sheer grind of that long a schedule?
Myers: It was hard sometimes. It can definitely be a grind, and sometimes you don't feel like playing. It was a learning process, though -- you've got to push through both physically and mentally.
MiLB.com: What did you do during the offseason?
Myers: I took about a month-and-a-half off, just to give my body a break, then started hitting the weight room after Thanksgiving. Other than that, I played a good bit of golf.
MiLB.com: What do you shoot?
Myers: I've only been playing for two years, but I'm getting better -- I probably shoot in the mid-80s. I'm good with my irons and short game, but I kill my score by driving the ball out of bounds off the tee. I think playing golf helps me with baseball. It's kind of a mind game -- you learn how to keep your cool.
MiLB.com: It sounds like you'll be starting the season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Do you have any particular goals for the year, like moving up to Triple-A Omaha or getting a September callup to Kansas City?
Myers: No, I think that was a mistake I made last year -- being impatient and trying to do too much. I'm just going to play as hard as I can and see how things progress.
MiLB.com: The Kansas City system is generally considered to be the strongest of any Major League club, with prospects like you, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, just to name a few. Do you guys feel any pressure to live up to that reputation?
Myers: I don't think we really feel any pressure, honestly. We all know what we can do -- we just try to go out and do it and have fun.
MiLB.com: Your hometown of High Point, N.C., is right in the middle of Tobacco Road. Do you have a rooting interest in the ACC men's basketball tournament this weekend?
Myers: Oh yeah, I'm definitely pulling for [the University of North] Carolina. I'm a huge Tar Heels fan.
Note: The interview took place prior to the ACC Championship, which Duke won, defeating North Carolina in the final.