Futures star: Myers leaves KC wanting more
Pitchers Odorizzi, Ventura also represent Royals well in annual showcase
KANSAS CITY -- Wil Myers can say he has something in common with Roy Hobbs: He's started breaking stuff at Major League stadiums.
Robert Redford's protagonist in "The Natural" broke the press box glass and saw a bank of lights explode following a dramatic home run. Myers smashed an ESPN camera lens with a sixth-inning foul ball.
So maybe the comparison is a bit of a stretch, but Royals fans don't see it that way. The hype surrounding Myers in Kansas City is already painting him as a talent equal to that of the famous movie character. Those fans got a chance to see the one-man hype machine on the field at Kauffman Stadium during Sunday's Sirius XM Futures Game.
Myers has smacked 27 home runs this season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, and Royals manager Ned Yost and general manager Dayton Moore are constantly peppered with questions about when the 21-year-old might join the parent club.
According to George Brett, Royals legend and manager of the U.S. Futures team, Myers is part of the "second wave" of Royals prospects, and Brett thinks it won't be long before Myers joins "first-wavers" Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.
"Dayton used to say, 'George, this is the first wave,'" Brett said, referring to the young Royals core. "Wil Myers is the start of the second wave."
Myers received a partial standing ovation prior to his first at-bat from the Royals fans in attendance. Brett made it no secret that Myers would play all nine innings on Sunday in front of the home fans.
The outfielder had a solid day at the plate in his second Futures Game appearance -- going 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBIs in the U.S. team's 17-5 rout.
Myers picked up an RBI in the bottom of the third after grounding out to second base. He drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and his single to left field in the seventh brought home another.
Myers received plenty of cheers whenever he stepped to the plate, and said he liked what he's seen and heard from the Kansas City fans.
"My first two days, I was at FanFest. There was a lot of Kansas City fans there, obviously. They said they were all excited for me to get here, so I'm looking forward to it," Myers said.
But Myers wasn't the only member of the "second wave" to appear in Sunday's game.
Pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who has been putting up terrific numbers at Omaha, started for the U.S. team. Before the game, it was apparent from his big smile that Odorizzi was excited to pitch in a park that he could soon call home, but things didn't go quite as planned. He gave up a one-out home run to Texas prospect Jurickson Profar before retiring the next two batters.
Odorizzi's one-inning performance Sunday won't do much to tarnish his great season, though. Like Myers, he's also split time between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha this year. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.83 ERA with the Storm Chasers and he's struck out 45 batters in 47 2/3 innings.
"It was awesome," Odorizzi said of his Futures experience. "The ovation both of us got was just overwhelming, and playing in Kansas City's going to be great. I'm really looking forward to whenever that time is for both of us."
Odorizzi is evidently itching to get to the Majors.
"I'm ready to join [the Royals], but it's not up to me. It's up to the management," Odorizzi said. "There's always stuff I can work on in Omaha to try to get here. I'm just going to keep going, and when they tell me the time is ready to be here, I'll be packed up and ready to go."
The third member of the Royals' organization to appear in Sunday's game was Yordano Ventura, who started for the World team. His 1-2-3 first inning was much better than Odorizzi's frame. Ventura concluded the inning by getting Myers to ground out to third base.
They're the kind of results Ventura's come to expect this season. In 16 starts with Class A Wilmington, he has struck out 98 batters in 76 1/3 innings and posted a 3.30 ERA. Ventura was also the bearer of good news Sunday, saying that he'd be heading to Double-A after the game.
Ventura is moving up, something Myers and Odorizzi have already done this season -- and something they hope to do again very soon. For them, it's just a matter of time before playing at Kauffman Stadium is an everyday occurrence.
"Just being out there, knowing what it's like to throw your first pitch and have everybody give you a great ovation, I think that's really going to help whenever I make my debut," Odorizzi said.
Odorizzi is willing to do just about anything to get to the bigs.
"I'll take a locker in the bathroom if that's where they want to put me," Odorizzi said.
And what about Myers and the damaged property?
"I saw the replay right after the pitch. That was pretty cool," Myers said. "I'm not paying them anything."
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.