Rays Matt Moore And David Price Form Top Left-Handed Duo
This story is about Matt Moore, a six-foot-two inch left-hander with an electric arm. Moore gets tremendous whip and extension, sitting often reaching 96-97 MPH on his fastball. Reports even have him hitting triple-digits in short spurts. This pitch features excellent arm side run and Moore’s slightly-across his body release point adds deception.
Moore has a wipeout ‘slurve’ and an emerging change-up that features excellent fade at times. Moore’s ‘slurve’ has the look of a slider, but he calls it a curveball. Regardless of how one defines it, few would disagree it’s simply ‘disgusting’ in the most endearing of ways.
His frame also leaves plenty of room for growth, and his mechanics are clean and repeatable. ‘Easy’ is a relative term in pitching, because you have to throw with intent to throw at the speeds Moore reaches, but his motion is very ‘easy’ and almost remarkable given the velocity he can produce.
With Moore’s stuff and utter disregard for minor league hitters (594 K’s in 422 2/3 innings in his last three seasons), there’s no point in keeping him in the minors for further seasoning. However, without going to a 6 man rotation (which is something I wouldn’t put past Joe Maddon), there isn’t currently a rotation spot available for Moore. James Shields and Wade Davis are signed (counting club options) through 2014 and 2017 respectively, and Jeremy Hellickson is battling for a Rookie of the Year award. David Price is arbitration eligible after this year and will become expensive through either arbitration or contract extension. Right-hander Jeff Niemann is a more than serviceable No. 4-5 starter, but isn’t a good fit as a bullpen arm.
Unless another organization basically doubles the package the Cubs gave the Rays to get Matt Garza this past winter, one can bet on Moore being part of the plans in Tampa as he’s one of the more untouchable prospects in baseball. This would leave Niemann as the odd man out, which could bring a nice package for the Rays already deep farm system, as well as open up the much needed rotation spot for Moore.
Moore’s stuff would play up as a bullpen arm, or even closer, but keeping him in the bullpen would be a waste of his talents. The Rays’ developmental plan for their pitchers is best described as “slow and steady”, and Moore has been no exception. Moore is the next beneficiary of their development plan, and will be in Tampa to stay as soon as a spot is freed.
The Tampa Bay Rays, as an organization are good at many things. From maximizing value on low dollar signings to producing top flight pitching prospects (and bringing along said prospects with the speed of a Bengie Molina triple), to manipulating the draft to have an absurd ten of the first sixty picks in the 2011 draft. The Rays organization just seems to do everything well except have consistently high volumes of home attendance, but that’s best left for another day.
Steve Carter currently works as a baseball/softball hitting instructor and is Senior Scout at ProjectProspect.com. He is also a former college baseball player.