After struggling through late August and early September, Wil Myers knew things needed to pick up if he wanted to remain in consideration for 2013 AL Rookie of the Year honors. Not only that, the Tampa Bay Rays found themselves on the verge of a 2011 Boston Red Sox type of collapse.
Knowing that, Myers decided to take matters into his own hands, factoring in five of the Rays’ six runs during Monday night’s 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers. The victory gives them sole possession of the AL’s top Wild Card spot, which is important in deciding who gets home-field advantage.
One brilliant night doesn’t decide the AL Rookie of the Year, however. If it did, practically every player would have a case. So what makes this huge performance by Myers different in the eyes of voters?
For starters, he’s been delivering in clutch situations since being called up from Triple-A Durham in mid June. Remember his extra-inning walkoff hit that beat the San Francisco Giants to begin August? The Rays appeared to be headed for a series loss, but instead won it. It was huge, considering it might be the difference between this team playing October baseball or watching it on TV.
Besides the ability to come through when the pressure’s on, Myers has flashed some immense power while still remaining disciplined at the plate. Just look to his 13 home runs, .361 on-base percentage and .496 slugging percentage in just 75 major league games for proof.
Will he win? Though unknown, Monday’s performance should make him a virtual lock.