D’Arby Myers: The Phillies Winning Lottery Ticket?

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In June, if you’d have told me that I’d be writing a piece gushing praise towards D’Arby Myers and proclaiming him “the next big thing”, I’d have laughed you right out of the room. As I expressed in previous entries here, I am ALWAYS skeptical of guys the Phillies draft as “athletes who need to learn to play baseball”, and at first blush, that’s exactly what D’Arby Myers seemed to me. Now, here I am, 7 months later, getting ready to write what will probably look like the biggest puff piece I’ve ever written. It’s funny how one guy can make you forget about years and years of mistakes, even if that suspended cynicism could rear it’s ugly head at some point down the road. But, as I clarified before, we’re all just projecting and guessing, so why not hold out a little hope for now?

For those who don’t know him, Myers was drafted out of high school in the 4th round and signed three weeks after the draft. He certainly fit the mold the Phillies look for in high school athletes, he’s already 6’3, 175 lbs, wiry strong, and looks like the perfect projection guy to add 30 pounds and an inch or two and turn into a physical specimen. He’s a superior athlete, having played baseball, football, basketball and even hockey in high school, but he ended up always coming back to baseball. Myers was recruited and signed a letter of intent to USC, based partly on his really strong academic background (4.0 GPA) and his good high school performance, where he hit over .460 in both his junior and senior years. Because of his academic prowess as well as his baseball abilities, the scholarship to Southern California was seen as an obstacle by many teams, and he slid to the 4th round. In what would become a trend in the Phillies 2006 draft, they took a shot, and surprisingly, got Myers signed in only 3 weeks, which has to be seen as somewhat of a coup.

Before we go on about Myers and everything he offers, we need to address why I called him “the Phillies winning lottery ticket” in the title of this article. Guys like Myers, that is, the raw high school athlete, fail much more in pro ball than they succeed. Every year, every team drafts a bunch of guys like Myers, guys they think COULD become the next big thing, but the reality is, many of them don’t, simply because playing the game of baseball, and more specifically, teaching the nuances of the game of baseball, is not an easy task, and in most cases, just being a good athlete isn’t enough. In the Phillies case, their record of drafting guys like Myers is simply awful. Reggie Taylor and Greg Golson immediately come to mind, but there have been others (Shomari Beverley in 1997….who? Exactly) and in general, the Phillies just haven’t had any luck developing high school hitters. In fact, since the 1996 draft, the only high school hitter I can even think of that the Phillies have really succeeded with is Jimmy Rollins. One success in 10 years is hardly a solid track record. But, with Adrian Cardenas and D’Arby Myers, the Phillies might be onto something…..or they may have just gotten lucky, hence the “lottery ticket” analogy.

Just one more point on this, then I swear I’m going to start talking directly about Myers. Most teams draft guys like Myers and they never pan out, it’s not unique to the Phillies, but I know I’m not alone in wondering why it seems these guys show up in the GCL and seemingly can’t hit at all. Or, why we hear in the media that Greg Golson, with 2.5 years of pro ball experience, still has an “aluminum bat swing”, which to me, seems inexcusable. Some teams live and die by their farm system because they have to, teams like Minnesota and Oakland, but could it also be that these teams just have better teachers and instructors? Is it really a surprise that Minnesota churns out so much quality pitching? Many of the guys they bring up were not heralded as super stud prospects when they were drafted, but it seems like the teachers in the lower levels of the Minnesota system bring out the best in these prospects…..can we say the same about the Phillies? I’m not sure we can. That’s why a guy like Myers is so surprising to me, but at the same time, gives me hope that the Phillies might just be getting it.

Anyway, back to D’Arby. The fact that he signed so quickly was a surprise, but it also helped him, as it gave him more time to get adjusted to life in pro ball. Having not turned 18 until December, Myers played the entire GCL season at age 17, making him one of the youngest players in the league. So, we have a really young, really raw guy playing pro ball the summer after his senior year in high school….we shouldn’t expect too much, right? Well, most didn’t, and that’s why we’re so surprised. Myers final line was impressive

.313/.353/.430, 10 XBH, 13 RBI, 11/15 SB

The only area you could be somewhat concerned with is his 32 K’s in 128 AB’s, but all things considered, this is almost a zero worry type deal. What’s more impressive, though are his splits

June: .154/.267/.154 in 13 AB
July: .344/.382/.484 in 64 AB
August: .364/.364/.500 in 44 AB

He actually seemed to get stronger as the season was winding down. Maybe the most promising split is his ground ball to fly ball ratio. He had 49 GB to only 25 FB. He knows his strength, at this point, is to utilize his speed, and the best way to do that is to hit the ball on the ground.

The bigger issue, though, when looking at his numbers is his age….17. After the 2005 season, Yankees prospect Jose Tabata was considered one of the 50 or so best prospects in baseball, based on his GCL performance and his age, also 17 years old. In 2006, in low A, Tabata put up a .298/.377/.420 line, and was ranked the Yankees second best prospect, and will probably get some consideration for the Top 25 prospects in baseball lists. Here is a quick comparison of their respective numbers for their GCL seasons, both coming at age 17

Tabata: .314/.382/.417, 9 XBH, 25 RBI, 22/28 in SB in 156 AB
Myers: .313/.353/.430, 10 XBH, 13 RBI, 11/15 in SB in 128 AB

Pretty similar, yes? But there is one big different. Tabata is 5’10, 165 lbs, while Myers is 6’3, 175 lbs. What’s the difference? As Tabata gets older, he’s unlikely to grow more than a few more inches. Many scouts see his speed diminishing slightly as he fills out his frame and adds weight. He may develop more power, but Myers is a better bet to retain his speed, and because of it, has a better chance to remain a CF, while Tabata will likely be relegated to RF, because he does have a strong arm, but will lack the speed for CF. Tabata also has a slight edge in his plate discipline, drawing 15 walks to only 14 K’s his rookie year, while Myers drew only 7 walks to 32 strikeouts. Again, though, Myers is still learning the nuances like controlling the strike-zone, whereas Tabata was already an advanced hitter prior to coming to the GCL.

So, in the short term and in the long run, what are we looking at? We could be looking at the makings of a super star, or we could be looking at the next Reggie Taylor. Lets look at Myers’ numbers compared to Reggie Taylor and Greg Golson, the two suspects mentioned earlier.

Myers, age 17 (GCL): .313/.353/.430, 10 XBH, 13 RBI, 11/15 in SB in 128 AB
Taylor, age 18 (SS): .222/.301/.314, 12 XBH, 32 RBI, 18/25 in SB in 239 AB
Golson, age 18 (GCL): .295/.345/.410, 14 XBH, 22 RBI, 12/14 in SB in 183 AB

Now, lets look at the second year for both Taylor and Golson

Taylor, age 19 (A-): .263/.305/.327, 26 XBH, 31 RBI, 36/53 in SB in 499 AB
Golson, age 19 (A-): .264/.322/.389, 31 XBH, 27 RBI, 25/34 in SB in 375 AB

At this point in time, it looks like the Phillies could challenge Myers to a full season at Lakewood. The original plans were probably to keep him in short season ball in 2007 to help him get acclimated to pro ball, but with his outstanding showing in the GCL, the temptation to move him up and skip Williamsport is no doubt strong, and based on his baseball aptitude, might not be a bad move. Back in the summer, I advocated that he should probably start at Williamsport and then get bumped to Lakewood for the last month or so, but knowing what I know now, looking at the situation more closely, challenging him to a full season might just be the right idea. If he can put up a .375 OB% at Lakewood and increase his walk rate a bit, 2007 will be a major success, not even considering other parts of his game. In the next 2-3 years, his power should increase as he adds muscle and fills out, so that part of his game will come. The most important aspect for his future success is learning the strike zone and how to approach each at bat. If he can learn those skills, he’ll remain on the fast track.

Long term for D’Arby? Well, as cliche as it sounds, the sky is the limit. He has above average speed, an above average bat, plays a decent CF at such an early stage, and shows signs that he could hit for power. He basically has everything you look for in a star player. But of course, the warning has to be attached to this. He may not develop at all, and he may turn into the next Reggie Taylor. Every prospect has that chance, and Myers, as promising as he was in 2006, has the same possibility of failure as anyone else. It’s going to be exciting watching him develop, and at this time next year, everyone might be gushing over “the Great D’Arby Myers”…we can only hope.

39 thoughts on “D’Arby Myers: The Phillies Winning Lottery Ticket?

  1. I’m excited too about D’Arby, hopefully we could see him and Cardenas in the 2011 Phillies outfield.

  2. This post got me remembering a trip to Clearwater in the Spring of Brian Jordan’s rookie year in baseball (’92 I think), after he gave up on his football career. He was pathetic at the plate, misplayed a couple of balls in the outfield, threw to the wrong base. Definitely “an athlete who needs to learn to play baseball.” I thought, “This guy should put the pads back on.” Wouldn’t it be nice if D’Arby becomes another Brian Jordan.

  3. Another great piece. I think more than anything I’m impressed with how fast you seem to crank these out–quality plus speed equals a guy who could be, probably should be, writing about baseball for a living.

    What would be nice is if the Phils–or any team, but since we’re Phillies phans…–could be shown to learn over time from their wins and losses in taking fliers on “athlete types.” Why did Jimmy Rollins pan out but Reggie Taylor fall flat? Are there any traits we can isolate–quality of opposition, quality of coaching, family background, academic accomplishment or difficulty, et al–that seems to have predictive power in who makes it and who becomes Shomari Beverly?

    Otherwise, your point about minor-league instruction is something that’s been bouncing around in my head for years. It would be interesting to see if the teams that do invest the most money in this area, in absolute or relative terms (to all expenses), tend to do better as far as both yield from their farm system and results at the big-league level.

  4. Part of the problem is the Phillies seem to preach aggressive over plate discipline as Dancy did with Mr. OBP Bourn. Plate discipline, hitting to all fields yields success and the power the Phillies seek.

    I am very encouraged and probably overoptimistic about Myers. As you say, it has been so long since we developed a HS hitter or an OF, yet alone a HS OF. This has been one of the black holes of the Phillies organization, and we have sunk three #1 draft picks in Jackson, Taylor, and Golson into this effort. Luzinski and Michaels are the best we have done in ‘developing’ OF offense. I think they, along with Valent, were better hitters as collegians and did not advance their skills in Philly. Beyond that, we have guys like Marlon Byrd, Roberson, Bourn. All suspect bats.

  5. Very good job with the writeup- I presume you’ve seen the links to the articles written about him before the draft in the local LA papers? Its interesting that the phillies seem to either have a plan, an inclination, or its just a coincidence- but the phillies have gone back to the LA inner city for quite a few guys in the early rounds the last few years- Myers, Jermaine Williams, Durant, Terry Jones (i’m not sure they were all LA, but they were supposed to be guys that were products of mlb’s RBI program).

  6. Very nice article. I just have one question: How do you pronounce his first name? Is it Dih-Arr-Bee, or Dee-Arr-Bee, or Darr-Bee, or something else?

  7. In both this article and your run down on drabek, you mentioned the phils taking a shot on players perceived to be less-signable or problematic in 2006. Combined with the dumpster diving that gillick is engaging in this offseason, do you think it points to a greater preparadness to take a good gamble on behalf of the phillies? We spent a lot of time lamenting wades predominantly play-it-safe approach in the past, and it sounds like this is no longer the case.

    I’d also echo Dajafi’s comments about your own writing. The articles are well-researched, using a diverse number of sources, a good balancing act on the pros and the cons and you convey very clearly not just the statistics but a clear understanding of how players physically and mentally develop. The only selfish reason I can see for not going pro is that we’d get less of your take on young phils prospects, which would suck mightily.

  8. I’m not really sure how to explain it, to be honest. I’m planning a bigger piece to write, maybe even later today, about what other teams have gotten from the top of their drafts. But just consider this. From 1997-2006 (10 #1 picks, or possibly 9 and 1 2nd round pick), here is where those players currently play

    ATL: 10 drafted (3 in 2nd round as first), 5 with ATL, 2 out of baseball, 3 with other teams
    FLA: 10 drafted (1 in 2nd round as first), 5 with FLA, 2 out of baseball, 3 with other teams
    NYM: 10 drafted (2 in 2nd round as first), 5 with NYM, 4 with other teams, 1 in Japan
    WAS: 10 drafted, 5 with WAS, 1 with other team, 3 out of baseball, 1 in Independent League

    PHI: 9 drafted (Drew didn’t sign), 8 with the Phillies organization, 1 with another team (Floyd)

  9. The LA Daily Breeze did a 9 part series on Myers over the summer, related to the dearth of American born black baseball players. It was a great read and tells you a ton more about Myers.

    Here’s the links to them.

    Part 1: Baseball’s Blackout http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3313876.html?c=y&hid=1531235263
    Part 2: Coming of age http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3316396.html?showAll=y&c=y
    Part 3: How baseball is losing the inner city

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3325021.html?showAll=y&c=y

    Part 4: Words of change

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3333626.html

    Part 5: In search of guys like Bo http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3342111.html?showAll=y&c=y
    Part 6: Urban baseball academies a tough sell in U.S. http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3350246.html?showAll=y&c=y
    Part 7: Former Angel directs baseball’s new ‘laboratory’ http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3357981.html?showAll=y&c=y
    Part 8: The cultural divide http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3360246.html?showAll=y&c=y
    Part 9: Solving the problem http://www.dailybreeze.com/hottopics/articles/3362931.html?showAll=y&c=y

  10. seeing darby get drafted is such a trip, i played little league with him. he is such a good guy and he deserves this, hes worked really hard, i tip my hat to him.

  11. Just to correct a bit of a mistake. Tabata played the GCL at the age of 16. His birthday is August 12, 1988. So, he’s only four months older than D’arby.

    So, comparatively…
    Age 17
    Tabata – Low A – .298/.377/.420, 28 XBH’s, 51 RBI, 15/20 in SB in 319 AB’s
    Myers: – Rk. – .313/.353/.430, 10 XBH, 13 RBI, 11/15 in SB in 128 AB’s.

    That being said, I think D’arby’s a very good prospect. Once he learns to translate his athleticism to baseball skills, then he’ll take off. He’s already done a great job in that transition, and as a Braves fan, I’m sort of hope he doesn’t. But, joking aside, he looks like a prospect to keep both eyes on.

  12. D’Arby is one of many future inner city kids that are coming through the system in Los Angeles. Daryl Jones, Darren Starks, and George McDonald also played with D’Arby at Westchester High school. The future for the Los Angeles area kids is shining bright. Le’Jon Baker out of Crenshaw High is just a notch below D’Arby. Le’Jon is a freshman. Keymon Thomas,LHP, not in high school yet is already dominating high school players. Some of these players work out with Will Arron, and play at Hollypark in Hawthorne. D’Arby is just a tip of the iceberg. I mentioned Le’Jon Baker and Keymon Thomas because they definitely have the make up already. Some of the other players like Dominique Starks, Kamal Muhumad, Andres Leyva, and Eduardo Oviedo have the talent but may not have the physical make-up. Keymon Thomas is 13 years old and attends John Burroughs MS. He has two years before he attends high school. Andres Leyva, Eduardo Oviedo, and Kamal Muhumad will be freshmen next year in high school.

  13. Where’s D’arby? He hasnt had an ab in 2 weeks?
    I like his stolen bases, his k ratio, his athleticism, and his age. But its ridiculous that the author proclaim him as the next Justin Upton.
    Also, why doesnt anyone care about the lack of American born caucasians in the NBA?

  14. You can probably chalk up the comparison to Justin Upton as one that came from his mother. She has adamently proclaimed him much better than either of the Upton brothers… a combination of “Barry and Ricky right now” ?!!!. NO JOKE. This was actually heard as she spoke to various scouts and agents during his senior season at Westchester and she proclaimed this over and over again. I think if everyone outside of the baseball club stays out of his way, he will have a prosperous career. By the way, he was recruited walk-on at USC and was not considered a player that could walk in a start. His swing was too raw and schools like USC need immediate impact players in their program, not projects. He is a “down the road” kind of player, so everyone please be patient with him and let him develop.

  15. Le’Jon Baker is about to start his sophomore baseball season at Crenshaw high school. He’s the real deal!!! In addition, Keymon Thomas is on his way to make some real noise. Keymon Thomas, 8th grader in the Los Angeles area is making a decision on which high school to attend next year. Follow Le’Jon Baker and Keymon Thomas at maxpreps.com and Westchesterbaseball.com

  16. D’arby had real good hitting instruction early because his mom made sure he had the best. I sure hope the RBI and MLB Academy future stars mentioned above get what D’arby had. There is alot of misinformation with regard to hitting mechanics being taught on the Westside of L.A. by no it alls with no MLB experience. Sincerely .Concerned parent.

  17. D’Arby was recruited for his academics 4.0 GPA as well as getting a full scholarship to USC to play baseball, also he was a player that could walk in and start.

  18. D’arby was not offered a full BASEBALL scholarship to USC nor was he a player that could walk in and start at USC. Although a specially gifted athlete, he was not very polished as a hitter. He was a recruited walk-on. Did anybody do any real fact checking? He was accepted academically at USC and made an oral commitment to attend. He did not receive baseball scholarship money or he would have had to have signed a national letter of intent.

  19. I just read a article you wrote about D’arby last january.in the article you mention that the minnesota twins develops prospect that are now as highly thought of , that is a point that interests me becasuse when gio gonzalez was traded back to chicago a article said he would remain in double a to get back to where he was with them , that implies to me that the phillies minor league instructor stoped his development and that is cause for concern,

  20. To Huh, unless you were in D’Arbys living room, which you were not, you do not know what was offered to D’Arby. you nor your little spies do not know what they are talking about. Why do you player hate on D’Arby, there are other players on the team but he is the one you pick to player hate on. even if he did not get a scholarship offer , which he did. why must you say he was not offered a scholarship, were you there? no, so if you were not there you really don’t know what he was offered. stop your player hate.

  21. D’arby will be OK if his mother relax just a little. As for Le’Jon Baker at Crenshaw High School, he better watch out for those freshman coming in this year. Ron Miller and Keymon Thomas are the real deal. (Compare to Chris Brown and Darry Strawberry)

    I hope D’arby doesn’t end up like Daryl Jones.

  22. D’arby would have signed a national letter of intent if he was offered and received a scholarship. He got into USC because of his outstanding academic accomplishments (FACT). He is a great kid and a phenomenal athlete (FACT). Hating? Naw… I just happen be very involved with high school baseball and the southern California recruting scene (FACT). He orally committed to USC…which means he was a recruited walk-on/preferred walk-on. But you do not received a “BASEBALL SCHOLARSHIP” without signing a national letter of intent (UNLESS THINGS CHANGED).
    Many parents, like my dad when I went to play college baseball, will brag about being offered a scholarship for a particular sport when in fact they are getting grants/loans based on financial need. I’m not hating, I just know the drill!… I got into school on academics, was recruited, didn’t have to pay much because of financial aid (NOT THE SAME AS “BASEBALL SCHOLARSHIP”). Last I heard, baseball is allowed 11 scholarships for a 35 man roster. Most players receive books, or tuition, or living expenses…one or the other….maybe two of the three, but not many get full scholarships….I’m sure we can all do the math. That means 33 portions of baseball scholarships can be awarded in any given year…I’m tired of this…just trust me…he did not receive a full baseball scholarship

  23. LA High School baseball fan…thanks for heads up for the kids out of Crenshaw. How do they compare to Jermain Curtis at UCLA?

  24. It’s hard to compare Jermain Curtis to the Crenshaw kids. I’ve been wathcing the Crenshaw kids and they are very raw. There’s a lot of potential but you never know how it will all turn out. I’ve been hearing comparisons to Garret Anderson and Jermaine Dye for one of the players. The other young one is being compared to Prince Fielder. Le’Jon will write his ticket with the results of this upcoming season.

  25. Jamal Moore, LHP, Westchester HS

    He’s a monster. He throws hard and will be a force on the bump. Too bad that Westchester doesn’t have anyone else that can pitch.

  26. D’arby was always an amazing person. I expected all of this to happen to him, i dont know how …I just felt that he was going to be a big league star. I was coming in as a freshman while he was a senior and heard so many things about all positive. He has a good head about him not cocky, great personality and was very popular. It gives me a deep since of pride just to go to the same high school as he graduated from. Some of the information in this article may have been false… im referring to D’arby playing hockey…WESTCHESTER DOES NOT HAVE A HOCKEY TEAM…i doubt any school in my district does..and i never heard of him playing basketball… EXPECT GREATNESS FROM D’ARBY.. D’ARBY ILL BE WATCHIN YOU -CHRIS W

  27. been looking for d’arby.known him since high school introduced him to eric davis and sheffield to hear how the game is different from high school and what to expect at that level. both eric and shef says he has the tools to be good, but its on him and his work ethics. if you could have him reach out to me. Rennie

  28. I played against this clown hes fast but i always through him our anywhere he went and his mom is a loud mouth annoying EXPLETIVE! WESTCHESTER DID NOT HAVE A HOCKEY TEAM!

    1. Commit to what. He’s not on the 2013 Spring roster at UC Riverside. What’s up with that? There’s video of a 2012 fall scrimmage with him where he falls in warm ups making his throws from left field. His ABs were less than what they should be. Who’s coaching him. OMG. Take that foolish video down and stop embarrassing him. Stop making excuses and get him some coaching already.

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