When Corey Myers got invited to attend the Arizona Fall League this year it might have been the easiest move he's made all year, and trust us, there have been quite a few.
There was the move to Hi A Lancaster of the California League. That was fun, but Myers had barely unpacked when he was moved right back to extended Spring Training with the Diamondbacks to start work on his next move, behind the plate.
Myers was drafted #4 overall in 1999 and entered the Diamondbacks system as a power hitting 3rd baseman. Now in his sixth year in the D'Backs organization his bat is ready for the big leagues, but his position wasn't. The emergence of Chad Tracy left the D'Backs with a problem. The want Myers bat in the lineup, but they want Tracy's there too.
The answer was a move to catcher, a move that Myers brother, Casey, might help make easier. Casey Myers played catcher at Arizona State University and continues to strap on the tools of ignorance in the Oakland organization. For Corey the move won't be easy, but he's certainly up for the challenge. "I've only been back there about 20 or 25 games so far. I'm getting more comfortable, but it is definitely an adjustment."
From extended Spring Training his next move was to AAA Tucson, where Myers had what has become a typical year for him, hitting .289 with seven homers and 25 RBI in just 180 at bats. "I was hurt a little bit, and so I didn't get as many at bats, or reps behind the plate, as I wanted to, but the invitation down here was good to get."
So from Tucson Myers came...back home. The Casa Grande native gets to leave the park at the end of each day and head to his own bed, making this move the sweetest of all. He told the MLB network that many of his friends, family, and even former teachers have come to see him play, but the eyes he's concerned with are the ones from the big league club.
"The D'Backs have people watching everyday. They are watching everybody, but I know that as far as I'm concerned they are really watching my progress behind the plate." Myers certainly has the tools to be a great catcher. His arm and footwork at 3rd base has always been above average, making the transition that much easier, and after all he can always call his brother for advice. "Mostly it is the decision making that I'm learning about as a catcher. What pitches to call in what situations, how to handle different types of hitters. All stuff that just comes with reps."
His bat continues to impress in the AFL. Through Friday's games Myers was hitting .276 and had already cracked two homers in just 29 at bats. It's that power that has the Diamondbacks saying they expect Myers to compete not just for a spot on their roster in 2005, but for the starting job with Chris Snyder and Koyie Hill. Still for Myers it is a pretty simple equation. "I look at guys like Robbie Hammock, who catches, plays third and the outfield, and I realize the more places I'm comfortable playing the more likely I am to make the big league club. That's why everybody is down here [in the AFL], is to try and get better, make a good impression, get an invite to Spring Training, and then make their big league club. You get to the bigs as a utility guy, and then if you hit well enough they will find a place for you to play everyday."