Padres outfielder Wil Myers hit for the first cycle of the 2017 season on Monday and did so in thrilling fashion, ending it with a mad-dash triple. While many label the cycle a statistical oddity, Myers's feat is still worth celebrating.
For all those who picked Wil Myers to hit the first cycle of the 2017 season, it’s time to collect your winnings. The Padres first baseman, freshly minted with a six-year, $83 million contract signed in the off-season, compiled the rare feat with spectacular efficiency and finished it in a most exciting manner during San Diego’s 5–3 win over the Rockies on Monday night. Myers only needed four at bats to become the second Padre in history to hit for the cycle (teammate Matt Kemp did it in 2015, also against Colorado at Coors Field) and drove in two runs to lift the Padres to 4–4 this season. After a disastrous opening series against the Dodgers that saw them get outscored 28–10, the Padres took two of three from the Giants last weekend and won the first of a three-game set with Colorado.
The cycle is generally regarded as a statistical oddity with little value outside of sentimentality, but it remains a notable personal feat. When a player finishes the accomplishment with a triple, it generates plenty of excitement. Just watch Myers race around the bases (and trip on his way to third base) accompanied by an excited call.
As Steve Staude analyzed in excruciating detail after Mike Trout accomplished the feat in 2013, hitting for the cycle is a legitimate statistical rarity. Staude admits that even his calculations are faulty because of ballpark factors and lineup placement; Myers was hitting third (an ideal lineup slot for a player to hit for the cycle) and playing in Coors Field (the ideal destination because of its cavernous dimensions and thin air). Before denigrating Myers’s accomplishment, remember that Myers did it in his only four plate appearances; it has taken others two to three more trips to the plate to finish it.
Sabermetricians have deemed the feat generally insignificant because pretty much anyone can achieve it and it is insufficient in gauging a player’s long-term value, but it makes for a brief moment of excitement and a worthy ballpark memory. Myers’s offensive bonanza on Monday night secured a victory for a team that’s garnered some recent momentum and provided Padres fans with a highlight that they’ll probably savor while their team (likely) heads for 100 losses.
As far as cycles go, doing it in four plate appearances and finishing it with a triple is about as perfect as any cycle can get. It also conjures the glorious memory of Bengie Molina, one of the best catchers but slowest players to ever grace the Big Leagues, finishing his only career cycle with a triple.
Kudos to you, Wil Myers, on hitting for the cycle.