For all I know Tyler Moore is a great person and as far as the complete universe of baseball from Little League to the Majors he is extraordinarily accomplished. Millions have played at all, only a few thousand out there have made the majors. Not only has Tyler Moore made the majors but he's played for 4 years, hit multiple home runs, and even drove in the deciding run in a playoff game. He's the 1% of the 1% of baseball. Tyler Moore should be exceptionally proud of what he has accomplished.
Now get him off the team
I've often said that at the major league level Moore is a one trick pony. He can give you some RH power if need be. That's a very limited skill set, but it does accurately describe Moore. He doesn't hit for average. He's not patient. He doesn't make good contact. He's not a good fielder. He does not run well. Given all that he could be the slugger from that Bugs Bunny cartoon opponent and you still might not carry him on your team.
Yet despite me saying you can't very well keep a player like that on your team for very long, the Nats have given Tyler Moore 650 PAs over 4 years. He's never quite made it to part-time player, but looking at his at bats he's been a key bench piece over that entire time. Not only that, he had his most PAs in this season. It's mind-boggling.
If you don't believe me I did a little check to see if in fact Tyler Moore was the most inexplicable hitter to play that much baseball in the past 3 years. I checked how many players have been given 300+ PA in the past 3 years and have not contributed positively offensively or defensively. (Moore has 478 PA but I figured I'd widen the field) I used baseball-reference offense and defense WAR to figure this out, but don't worry Fangraphs' stats think he's equally as worthless.
Turns out there are only 32 players (so very very few) but even that is too misleading in a positive direction for Tyler. When looking at these players you notice that there are a lot of C and MI in there. These are positions where offense can be hard to find. Tyler Moore is a 1B/OF. a place where sluggers roam free. What if we cut it to 1B, corner OF and DH?
There are 18.
So only 18 guys have given as little as Tyler Moore has in the past 3 years and played as much. Can we dig a little deeper? Sure, to try to add in speed let's cut this to only guys who stole 5 bases or fewer (Moore has 0 - indicating his complete lack of speed, but I'm feeling generous)
OK we're at 14 now. Now we can try to figure out the why these guys played if they were so completely terrible. A bunch of them were players who were former starters that still had full time gigs in 2013 or 2014 because of past competence. It can take a while for baseball to give up on you if you were once good, well-liked, and not terribly old. This definitely covers Lyle Overbay, Paul Konerko, Ryan Ludwick, Jason Kubel, Carlos Pena, and Corey Hart. They were probably given a year more than they should have but you could understand why. Despite never having continued good play, Jeff Francoeur probably fits here too. That 2011 season gave teams desperate for players something to hold onto. Nolan Reimold too should be here. He was only briefly good but it was injuries that brought him down so you can understand why teams gave him at bats.
Ok we're down to 6. Yunesky Betancourt is an interesting case we should discuss. He was briefly a defensive whiz who quickly became a burden all over the field. The Brewers picked him up as a last man on bench type and when injuries struck in 2013 (three separate season ending injuries to first baseman before the season!) he played a ton at first base. It was pretty much insane after say mid May when his hot April descended into expected terribleness. But I actually checked when I was looking into Roenicke yesterday and Betancourt was arguably the best player left. Juan Francisco could hit better but was so incredibly bad fielding that he just couldn't be used there. The other choices were no better. So you can understand why he ended up playing but you can't understand why Doug Melvin didn't bring in anyone better (unless, like me, you think he was flying under everyone's radar as one of the worst GMs in baseball). Of course the question is - does he fit in this group? Betancourt was primarily a MI (though a bad one) and only deviates from that because of an extraordinary situation, and then he never played again. While it's inexplicable he got that many ABs at 1B in 2013, it's not like he was playing a slugging position for a couple years while giving no offense. For that reason I'm knocking him out. Down to 5.
One is Jon Singleton. A young (23 this year) true prospect (ranked on top halves of Top 100 lists), he was given a bunch of at bats last year to try to catch on to this youthful Astros squad. It didn't take. But still you see why he got them. Down to 4.
Michael Choice was also a true prospect, though on the outskirts of Top 100 lists. He also received his ABs in one big burst trying to catch on. Plus he barely makes the list with exactly 300 PAs. I can explain his ABs and he had almost 200 fewer. No not worse than Moore. Down to 3.
Ok we're now at the real challengers Chris Parmalee and Marc Krauss. Never big time prospects (ok Parmalee was very breifly but far enough removed from when he actually played to be ignored right now) not particularly young, a fair number of appearances in multiple seasons. They all fit the "What the hell? Him again?" profile I'm looking for.
Marc Krauss was about as bad as Tyler Moore but has a couple things going for him to not be the most inexplicable. One is that he played 2013 and 2014 with some terrible offensive Astros teams. In 2013 Nine different Astros OF/1B types had over 100 at bats not including "All I do is homer" Chris Carter. You just heard Singleton got a ton in 2014, and another 6 got 100+ at bats. Just by virture of being there you got ~300 PAs. Alex Pressley, Robbie Grossman, Jake Marisnick, LJ Hoes... A terrible team trying to throw pieces at a wall to see what works? I have to say that makes more sense to me than using Tyler Moore as a key bench piece for 3 years. Plus he was a 2nd round pick so there was some consensus he was good. I'm going to drop him.
Chris Parmalee... Ok this one is tougher. Arguing for him being the most inexplicable, Parmalee has a bunch more at bats than Moore. Like 700 to Tyler's 480 in past 3 years. That can't be dismissed. And... well that's all I can think of. Aruging for Tyler Moore, despite playing that much less his WAR stats (which are cumulative and thus playing time based) are worse across the board. Parmalee was a former 1st round pick. Moore a 16th rounder. So even though neither were prospects, much like Krauss, Parmalee had cache. Chris Parmalee is also a lefty which makes him a tempting platoon player - though that's more in the mind as his splits were never that good.
The real key here is Moore did well in a brief stint 2012 justifying the time he saw in 2013, and Parmalee crushed in a briefer one in 2011 making a more enticing prize so you can see him playing in 2013 as well. But neither played well enough in 2013 to justify playing in 2014 and repeat for 2014 to 2015.
Hmmm Hmmm. Tough one.
I'm going to do it. I'm going to officially declare Tyler Moore the winner of "Most Inexplicable Player to get as many plate apperances as he did from 2013-2015" I think what it comes down to is Parmalee was bad in 2014 improved only to below average in 2014 and that netted him 100 ABs in 2015. Moore was terrible in 2013 and improved only to bad in 2014, yet that somehow netted him twice as many PAs in 2015. I don't get it. I don't get it.
Ok this was probably too much work to tell you what you already know. Tyler Moore should not be on the bench for the Nats (or really any team) next year. He has proven himself not to be a player you stick on the bench for 100ABs, especially for an injury riddled team where he may be called on to play more. Maybe you stick him in AAA and maybe if he's awesome there and you have a need you give him 50 ABs to see what's what, and re-assess after that. That's it.
The end and the end of Tyler Moore one hopes.