Myers Takes on Leadership Role for Padres

All-Star asked to lead young, talented team

The Padres are so young in 2016 that Wil Myers has the 6th-most MLB service time of anyone on the 40-man roster.

Please keep in mind that Wil Myers only has three full seasons of big league experience. Still, the All-Star 1st baseman is being counted on as a leader, something that at the age of 26 is just a shade odd to him.

“Yeah a little bit,” said Myers. “I’m still young. I don’t feel like I’m an older guy on the team. I just want these guys to go out there and learn from themselves. I think the best teacher is experience and if I can help them in any way obviously I will.”

In 2013 Myers was the American League Rookie of the Year for Tampa Bay. He knows what it’s like to be in the spotlight at an early age and he’s sharing his experience with some of the young players who are expected to have an impact on the big league level.

For example, right fielder Hunter Renfroe made a huge splash in September with four home runs and 14 RBI in just 11 games. He is penciled in to be the everyday right fielder so Myers took the rookie aside to do some leading.

“I talked to Renfroe this off-season about kind of forgetting about his good year last year and moving on this year because I know, for me, it could be easy to look back on that one year and say ‘Well I’ve arrived’ and not work as hard. So I told him to forget about that year and get ready for this year,” said Myers.

Myers is a loose guy. He’s the kind of player who keeps things light in the clubhouse and doesn’t let the everyday grind of a 162-game season wear on him.

“When you talk about a leader I think it’s just somebody who’s authentic. I don’t want to change anything about who I am. I just want to try to lead by example and do the best I can in that way.”

Padres Manager Andy Green wants Myers to keep that same positive outlook while growing in to his new leadership role.

“I want Wil to play the game hard, intelligent, will a smile on his face, which is how he plays,” said Green. “I want guys to feed off the energy he brings to the ballpark. He’s learning more and more what it means to be willing to step up and speak.”

That little change … being a bit more vocal … has already caught hold, and it’s working.

“I’ve been very impressed with him so far this year,” said 24-year-old catcher Austin Hedges, who will be the Opening Day starter behind the plate. “You can tell that he wants to take on that role. He wants to be the guy that we can rely on day in and day out. So far this spring the work that he’s put in and what he’s been saying as a vocal leader is very impressive. I’m looking forward to following him this year.”

At least one odds maker has the Padres over/under win total at 64.5 games, the lowest in Major League Baseball. Myers hears that and thinks the 2017 San Diego Padres are an undervalued asset.

“I definitely think people are underestimating us. We have a very talented position player group. I think we definitely can surprise some people but, yeah, it is kind of a rebuilding year. We’re going to go out there and learn from each other and figure out ways to compete every day but we’re also going to create the new culture here and go from there.”

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