Wood Myers has now played two full seasons after being a late round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals, but his road to professional baseball has had its share of bumps.
Before he was hitting over .300 with various affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals, infielder Wood Myers was just a kid playing a game that ran in his family. His father played baseball in college, and both he and his brother got started as early as possible.
A love of the game is not the only thing that came out of Myers childhood, however. With a name like Wood, it understandably draws a lot of questions. That is something that John Woodley Myers endures quite a bit of.
“My parents called me that as kind of something different,” Myers said. “John is just so ordinary.”
From an early age, the name Wood was not the only thing that stood out on a baseball field. It turns out, the guy who answers to that name is a very talented baseball player. During his sophomore year of high school, the Chapel Hill native committed to play at the University of North Carolina.
This commitment was more than just choosing where to continue a baseball career for Myers. It signified something much bigger on the horizon. The foundation of a dream was put in place.
“I started to realize that I could play at a high Division I level,” Myers said. “And with steady development I could play pro ball too.”
So, Myers set out to develop into a player worthy of a draft selection out of UNC. During a game against Coastal Carolina, the then sophomore Myers hit a single. On the play, he wound up breaking his left leg. When all was said and done, he decided to transfer schools.
Of all places Myers transferred to Coastal Carolina after a year at Chipola Junior College, the team he was playing when his unfortunate injury occurred.
His tenure at Coastal Carolina lasted only one season in 2017. Myers hit .330, which was good for second best on the team. In total, he had 70 hits, 11 of them were doubles, and six were homeruns. He even added a triple for good measure.
All of that was good enough to be selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 29th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. With that, he had accomplished the goal he set for himself as a sophomore in high school.
Being selected is one thing, but working through the system is an entirely different animal. Myers was the 874th overall pick. Being selected where he was does not do him any favors.
“I felt like my production in college was good enough to be picked sooner,” Myers said. “But that just adds fuel to the fire for me.”
It is easy to dwell on feeling passed over. Instead, Myers took that feeling and turned it into a combined .320 average with both Johnson City and State College. That was just the beginning; Wood Myers is making a name for himself in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
In his second year, Myers started with State College. After only 12 games, he was promoted to Peoria, and by the end of the year he even played a couple games for Palm Beach. From an offensive standpoint, he is doing everything he can to prove he is better than the 29th round.
The organization is taking notice too. His five at bats in Palm Beach excluded, he has hit over .300 in two of the three levels he’s played at. The one he didn’t was State College, but that is largely due to a .224 mark in 2017. He righted that by hitting .348 at the same level in 2018.
“[Being promoted] is a great feeling, for sure,” Myers said. “But at the same time your mind switches back to square one and you have to start over and prove yourself at the next level.”
Defensively, Myers can comfortably play on either side of the middle infield. During his career, he’s played equal parts second base and shortstop. In 2018, he even saw some outfield time, which is something he expects more moving forward.
His outfield experience is six professional games, totaling 46 innings in left field. Just as Myers has done his whole baseball career, he realizes that working hard to become comfortable there only adds to his versatility and value.
There is still a long road ahead of Myers before he gets to wear a St. Louis Cardinals jersey. He has done everything in his power to claw his way towards that ultimate goal. But no matter what happens, he knows his job is still one of the best out there.
“I definitely thought playing pro ball was going to be more glamorous before I started,” Myers said. “You experience a few of those long bus rides and you realize that is not the case. But at the end of the day, it’s baseball for a job, so that’s pretty fun.”
Wood Myers might not have the most ordinary name in the world, but he adds performances that aren’t too typical either to make sure his name is remembered for the right reasons.