I am a pitching chauvinist. The mechanics of it are so complex, so cerebral, so deliberate—so difficult—that in the past, I’ve compared pitchers to authors and hitters to readers. Hitting a baseball is essentially reactive and instinctive; it seems like the sort of thing almost any big lug could do with enough practice, as long as he has wrists strong and quick enough to swing a bat, and decent hand-eye coordination.
This year, the Durham Bulls have a prized young slugger, twenty-two-year-old Wil Myers. Myers hit thirty-seven home runs in the minor leagues in 2012. He was so good that the Bulls’ parent club, the Tampa Bay Rays, traded one of their best major-league pitchers for him. Myers was assigned to Triple-A Durham for a final polish, but for the first third of the season he appeared to need much more than that: on May 23, he was batting just .244, had hit only four home runs, and had struck out in 28 percent of his at-bats—among the league’s highest rates.
Then Myers went on a tear, hitting five home runs in just six days, including one of the longest Durham Bulls Athletic Park has ever seen: a moonshot off the highest balcony of an office building that towers over left field. Read More