The Royals announced Wednesday that pitcher Jake Odorizzi and outfielder Wil Myers were promoted from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to Triple-A Omaha. Before the season, Myers and Odorizzi were ranked the Royals' Nos. 2 and 4 top prospects, respectively.
Odorizzi, 22, posted a 4-2 record and a 3.32 ERA in seven starts with the Naturals this season. He came to the Royals as a part of the trade that sent pitcher Zack Greinke to the Brewers prior to last season. Omaha will be the third team in two seasons in the Royals system for Odorizzi. Over that time, Odorizzi has totaled a 14-9 record and a 3.65 ERA and 204 strikeouts.
"He's ready for the next challenge," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "He's ready to face more advanced hitters. It's important for us to get him going.
"When we came into the season, we wanted to script it out so at least by June, hopefully, he'd be in Triple-A and give him three solid months at the Triple-A level. We can evaluate where he fits into our plans in 2013."
Myers, 21, departs the Texas League as perhaps its best offensive player this season. His .343 batting average, .731 slugging percentage and 1.146 OPS all led the league.
Myers hit 13 home runs in 35 games with the Naturals, already five ahead of his total from last season. The Royals drafted Myers as a catcher in the third round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Since then, he has moved to the outfield, and he also played some third base with Northwest Arkansas this season.
In four seasons in the Royals' system, Myers has hit .302, with a .401 on-base percentage. He's also hit 40 home runs and racked up 180 RBIs.
"He spent a full year in Double-A and he's proven that he's done well at that level," said Scott Sharp, the Royals' director of Minor League operations. "We just felt like his bat was ready to be tested and it would be good for him to be in a Triple-A lineup, where he has some guys in front of him and some guys behind him.
"He had gone into the second or third time through the league lineup. He was starting to repeat teams. They were just going to pitch him a lot differently and really not give him enough to hit. We just felt like it'd be better for his development, and he proved that he should be at a higher level."
Sharp said he wasn't at all surprised in the uptick in Myers' power numbers.
"Last year was such an odd year for him," Sharp said. "Second full season, he's in Double-A. He gets injured. He never gets traction. So whatever he did last year, you just kind of chalk up for being poor circumstances.
"He has tremendous power. For as much hype as that league gets for being an offensive league, the ballparks are pretty neutral. He just has tremendous power. If he gets pitches that he can drive, he can hit any ball out of any spot in the ballpark."
According to Sharp, the promotion for both players had as much to do as the schedule as it did with baseball. With Omaha returning from a trip to the West Coast and having a scheduled off day, he said the timing was perfect for the players to get settled in their new city.