Myles is off and running this spring
Like a lot of the top talent in the lower levels of the Cleveland Indians’ farm system, outfielder Bryson Myles is young, raw and has a lot of his potential based on projection and very little based on actual performance.
Myles, 22, was selected in the 6th round of last year’s draft out of Stephen F. Austin State University. He offers an intriguing skill set where he runs very well and combines that plus speed with some good size and solid power. Last season in 50 games at short season Single-A Mahoning Valley he showed that power-speed combo – though mostly just the speed portion of it – as he hit .302 with 1 HR, 15 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and .795 OPS.
After reporting and participating in Instructional League during the fall, Myles returned home for the offseason. But before departing the Indians told him to drop some weight so he could come into spring training a little leaner in order to be an everyday center field option in 2012.
“When I left Instructs I was told that the reason they wanted me to drop weight was because they want me to be an everyday center fielder,” Myles said in an interview on Wednesday. “I know that I have the versatility to play any of the three positions and I enjoy playing all of them, but if I had to pick I would much rather be in center field.”
Myles has his own live in training partner as his brother Candon Myles worked out with him all offseason. Last year Candon was selected in the 12th round of the 2012 Draft out of high school by the Pirates and is about three years younger than Bryson. Both pushed each other all offseason to do whatever it took to improve their game, get in great shape, and be ready for their first full seasons as a professional.
“I came down to Instructs [in the fall] and when I left they told me they wanted me at a specific weight and body fat,” Myles said. “My brother plays with the Pirates and so we were up every morning at 5:30AM just going at it and making sure that we came into spring training in shape. I am happy with the progress I made over the offseason, not only physically, but with my skills on the field.”
Both of them are very competitive and work hard to bring their weaknesses up to par with the other’s strengths. This helps push each of them to their limits.
“It has always been like that as growing up we have always been really competitive,” Myles said. “Right now I got him on the strength side, so he was working hard trying to catch up to me. He has a couple of steps on me as far as speed goes, so with all the agility and sprint drills I was always the one trying to play catch up. We both benefitted from each other.”
Even after a good pro debut last year, Myles is looking to become a more complete player. Offensively he wants to tweak his approach some so he better utilizes the entire field, and become a more efficient runner on the basepaths.
“At college I was able to limit myself more up the middle of the field and pulling the ball to left field,” Myles said. “This year I want to be able to use more of the field. It is not only going to help cut down on the strikeout rate, but also some doubles that I will get this year that last year may have rolled over to the shortstop just because I am focusing on staying in on the ball instead of pulling off more.”
While Myles has the ability to play anywhere in the outfield, his fringy arm makes him a better long term option in left field and center field. He needs to shore up his defense; something that he feels is further away than his offense at this point.
“I feel that if I get better in the defensive aspect of the game that it is only going to make me that much better,” Myles said. “I feel like I am a pretty good defensive player, but I feel like I have a lot more to go defensively than I do offensively. That was really one of my main focuses in the offseason.”
Myles missed about 20-some games last season because of a hamstring issue. Once the offseason officially got underway he went right to work strengthing up his legs in order to help protect himself from such injuries in the future.
“Through all the sprints and the drills and the weight training that my brother and I did, it was really focused on strengthening up my legs,” Myles said. “Not only to make me faster, but also to get me through a 142-game season.”
Myles and every other player from last year’s draft are experiencing their first spring training and many of them will get their first taste at full season ball when camp breaks in a few weeks.
“I’m really excited,” Myles said. “I know that it is going to be a long season, but this is something that I need to get used to if I want to continue to play this game as a career. This is something that I am going to have to do year in and year out. One of my focuses this year is to have a more positive attitude as it is going to help me get through the season that much easier if I go into it wanting to be here and wanting to do the extra work.”
One thing Myles never realized until spring training kicked off this year is how many minor league players are in the Indians’ organization. With over 175 players in camp, it can be a bit overwhelming for some guys.
“There is definitely a lot more people here than I thought was actually going to be here,” Myles said. “We have a ton of outfielders and a lot of tough competition. All it makes me want to do is just get better day in and day out. We are all fighting for those three spots on the big league club, so you have to find what it is that separates you apart from the rest of the outfielders. I know I am out here for a reason, which is to get better.”
Getting better is going to be Myles’ battle cry all season. If he plays and produces like he is capable, he will raise his stock considerably by the end of the season with in the Indians’ organization.
“Whenever the end of the season comes up I want to be able to leave and get on that flight home knowing that I did something this season that really made the organization notice me more than they do now,” Myles said. “That is going to come from going out every single day and playing as hard as I can and producing. In the game of baseball you have to produce, so I feel like if I can produce and be consistent day in and day out, then I feel that the Indians’ organization at the end of the year will really know who Bryson Myles is.”
Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIPI. Also, his new book the 2012 Cleveland Indians Prospect Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.
Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.