Northwest Arkansas outfielder Wil Myers
started this season where he finished the last one. And though his location hasn't changed, Myers is in a much better place.
With an experiment at catcher and an admittedly rough 2011 behind him, Myers is attacking his second stint in the Double-A Texas League with renewed confidence and focus.
"I definitely learned a lot last year," said Myers, the No. 2 prospect in the Royals system. "I learned to deal with failure. I honestly think it was the best season for me. It's good to come in with a different mind-set this year and play."
The results speak for themselves -- Myers leads the Naturals with a .349 average, six home runs and 15 RBIs and is second on the team with eight doubles.
"I struggled a little bit toward the beginning [of this season]," Myers said. "I was trying to pull some balls, but I'm feeling good at the plate now."
Myers transitioned from catcher to outfield last year when, dashing out of the rain at his apartment complex in Springdale, Ark., he slipped and cut his knee, requiring four staples and two stitches. He tried to play, which only led to a staph infection and a month out of action.
"It was tough, a freak accident," Myers said. "That was the first time I've actually missed a good period of time during the season. That was definitely new for me."
Myers was already having his share of problems on the field when he was injured.
"It was all mental. I didn't have enough confidence at the plate," Myers recalled.
He finished the season with a .254 average, eight home runs, 49 RBIs and a career-worst 87 strikeouts in 99 games. Rather than stew about it, Myers went to the Arizona Fall League and, like many players, found new life there.
"I had something to prove," he said. "I didn't want to limit my status as a prospect. I had a bad season. Fall League is good for a lot of players."
He hit .360 in Arizona, and so far the Fall League form has carried over into the spring. It probably helps that Myers no longer has to worry about catching.
"I was an OK catcher," he said with a laugh when reminded he was once considered a prospect at the position when he was behind the plate in 2010. "It was my first year ever catching. It was something the front office wanted to do. They said my bat was in front of my catching and so, I mean, they wanted to slow my bat down; that was the reason for it."
Playing outfield should be easier on his body, said Myers, and allow him to focus on his hitting, but he is taking his latest defensive position seriously too. Myers uses his shagging time during batting practice to work on his reads and get better breaks on balls.
So far it looks like it's all leading to a breakout year.
"That's my goal: get better every day," he said. "Have good at-bats, play good defense. It's more of an everyday goal for me to go out and have good at-bats and have a good game."
Offensive outcomes: Frisco opened its recent South Division series with Corpus Christi by pounding the Hooks, 12-0, on Friday night. Corpus Christi responded with a 10-1 victory Saturday, then the RoughRiders turned around and trouncing the Hooks again, 10-3, on Sunday.
Grand slammed: Northwest Arkansas' Carlo Testa slugged a grand slam against the Arkansas Travelers in Friday's 8-3 victory. It marked the third grand slam surrendered by Arkansas in the first three weeks of the season; the Travelers gave up grand slams in consecutive games April 10 and 12.
Five spot: No lead is safe when San Antonio and Midland hook up, especially a five-run lead. Midland lost a five-run advantage in a 9-6 loss to San Antonio on Saturday, then overcame a 5-0 deficit to beat the Missions, 7-5, on Sunday.