Nationals Baseball: See wither Tyler Moore

Thursday, October 08, 2015

See wither Tyler Moore

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.


JE34 said...

Another distinguishing factor in Tyler Moore's achievement of MIPTGAMPAAHD: Harper has contributed more ink/pixels to decrying his roster position than the entirety of the internet's opinions on the other top 5 contenders combined.

Mythra said...

If there is every a picture in the Urban dictionary for a AAAA player, Tyler Moore should be there.

I think he's a nice guy. I've seen him interact with fans. He's the perfect example of a player who only does well playing every day, but is a liability if he does. Clint Robinson surpassed him at 1B defense. Clint Robinson's bat was leaps and bounds better, gave very good ABs (remember all those walks as a PH to try to keep the line moving?) and Tyler Moore is a liability at any defensive position with grass under your feet. And lastly, Werth steals bases and makes it 1st to 3rd still on singles to the OF, Moore does not.

Trade him and let someone else give him a long term shot. The team needs another bag of balls, maybe.

John C. said...

Well, I think that Moore was a better 1b than Robinson defensively - but obviously Robinson's bat "more" than made up the difference. I would also say that Moore is better in LF than Robinson. This isn't because Moore is any good out there, mind you. But Clint is terrible out there.

It's a pretty ringing indictment of both, and of Adam LaRoche the last couple of seasons, that despite fairly limited time at the position Zimmerman is the best defensive first baseman the team has had in years.

Southernat said...

Tyler is a power bat with a big swing, so infrequent playing time definitely hurts his batting average. You can shape stats anyway you want but there is a difference trying to get a hit against a closer in the 8th or 9th rather than your 3rd at bat against a tiring pitcher in the 6th inning. When he plays as a starter, his numbers are WAY better. He still does not have enough bats in 4 years to add up to one full time season, yet his sporadic playing time has yielded (over 600 at bats) 91 RBI's (did you catch that?), 24 home runs and 32 doubles. He is an RBI machine and always has been. His career slugging percentage is .401. While not fleet of foot, he is a very good defender at first base. In the outfield, he plays it safe to avoid errors. The reason he is still around is because anyone with an eye for talent knows that if he played everyday he'd hit 30ish home runs and drive in 90. In the case of the Nationals there has always been someone (like Laroche or Zimmerman) standing in his way. He's a very valuable backup player but it is TYLER who is getting the short straw, not the Nationals. He deserves a chance to play everyday somewhere. He never complains and as you correctly point out, he's all about the team, all about the fans and that's why everyone (most importantly his teammates) love the guy. Power is precious in the big leagues and he's got it. Get a grip dude, you are WAY out on a limb criticizing this guy.

Josh Higham said...

Southernat: Then the Nats should sell a trade partner on what you see and see if they can get a decent bullpen arm for TMo. He has no place in the Nats outfield now or in the future, and with Zimm locked up until eternity, they don't particularly need another backup 1st baseman, not with the really excellent job Clint did this year filling in for Zimm.

Anonymous said...

One can only wonder what poor Larry Broadway (h/t to the old school Nats fans who remember that name) thinks about Moore's 4-year MLB career....

Positively Half St. said...


You hit on something that still makes me wistful. Poor Larry Broadway could have had his one cup of coffee twice. The first time he injured himself just before Nick Johnson collided with Kearns, missing out on some serious MLB roster time. Then, he was the front-runner for 1b until Bowden brought in Da Meat Hook (which turned out well). He was never going to stick unless he had TMo luck, but he at least could have had the taste of The Show on a truly terrible team.


blovy8 said...

Southernat makes a reasonable point. While playing at 1st base, Mary has an .821 ops with below-average defense that can appear to be average to the naked eye. If Mark Reynolds can keep getting jobs, there's no reason he can't work as a stopgap for some rebuilding club with a little imagination. If he were looked at that way and played 130 games at that rate, even as a pushing 30, he could luck into a low-level deal along the lines of Garrett Jones or Gaby Sanchez. Just a like a guy who throws 100 mph, guys who have back to back 30 HR seasons anyplace get lots of chances.

The real trouble for a GM is that he's probably not making enough to just be non-tendered, and it's tempting to keep him around as plan C or as a piece to sweeten a deal for some club he's gotten a big hit against.

Harper said...

Southern - ok let's be fair

"When he plays as a starter, his numbers are WAY better."
TRUE! but... that's not probably what you think. Looking at the past 3 years (that may seem unfair to you but it's generally as far as I go back when trying to project forward) he has hit OMG so bad when he doesn't start. Literally unbelievably bad. So being WAY better than that means he's still below average. Think Danny Espinosa this year for an idea. The whole year not just the good part.

Of course Danny plays because he gives you great defense and good speed.

"has yielded (over 600 at bats)... 24 home runs and 32 doubles...His career slugging percentage is .401"

Yep and that's pretty much what we agreed on. He can give you RHP. Take the last three years and scale to 650 ABs and you get 19 HR and 31 2B and taken completely by itself is not bad. (You might even toss a few more to him as a starter, that's fine) but again that is it. Is it enough for an AL team to give him a shot at DHing? That's probably the relevant question for Tyler's future.

"91 RBI's (did you catch that?)... He is an RBI machine and always has been"

Yes! I separated this out because if you wanted to focus on something to really promote Moore this works. He's always hit well with RISP and given that plus his natural power he ends up with a lot of RBI. Is it a fluke of small sample size? Is it the way Ps go after an unfamiliar batter with RISP that would disappear over time? Is it something about Moore? If there's something worthy about Moore it would be here.

"While not fleet of foot, he is a very good defender at first base."

I'm going to have to disagree here. He's perfectly acceptable at receiving throws. He's not terrible at fielding balls hit to him. He's got no range. That combination does not make a "very good defender". More than passable perhaps.

"The reason he is still around is because anyone with an eye for talent knows that if he played everyday he'd hit 30ish home runs and drive in 90"

WOAH WOAH WOAH. You are telling me the Nats think that if Tyler Moore played everyday that he would hit around 30 homers and drive in 90 runs and they aren't finding a place to play him? Or that they aren't dealing him to someone with "an eye for talent" for something they can use? This is where you lose me. That kind of talent is special (only 17 players have hit 27 or more HR in the NL in any of the past 3 seasons). The Nats aren't using him why? Like why not move Bryce to CF if you think Tyler is that good? If you are right there must be other teams that see him as that good. Why aren't teams knocking down the Nats door?

W. Patterson said...

Granted, I appreciated TM back when he was MTM. Ever since he dropped the first name and left the TV show, I've not been as interested. My wife thinks he's cute, though.

Seriously, using numbers and history to separate how one FEELs for a player is an eye-opener. There are Nats that I FEEL do or don't contribute, but when one views their performance in real numbers, it shows that I'm a fan and would have no place in Baseball Operations or the dugout.

Jay said...

Is Southernat Tyler Moore? Hmm...
Anyway, I see both sides. I think TMo isn't as bad as Harper pointed out, but not a 30/90 guy either. What we can be sure about IMO is that he is only a small part of the Nats problems - maybe. The Nats need a legitimate manager first and foremost. They need a near complete bullpen makeover (is that a reality TV show?). They need guys that can consistently stay healthy - yes I'm looking at you Zimmerman, Rendon, Werth, and even Strasburg. Most of all the Nats need to step up with the spotlight is on. They routinely choke their ever living guts out whenever they are the favorite. See 2013 and 2015. Tim Hudson openly to the press quesitoned the Nats manhood and then he and older than snot Jake Peavey proceeded to kill them in the playoffs last year. Those comments SHOULD have been laughable. Tim Hudson and Jake Peavey lasted a total of like 6-7 innings between the two of them in the World Series. Pathetic. And it's even more pathetic the Nats shrank in the spotlight instead of making Hudson pay for those remarks. At some point the players are going to have to face that. MW was and is a horrible manager, but it was not his fault they lost in the playoffs last year.

Anonymous said...

I see this column as therapy for Harper after the Nats swoon and the Yankees elimination.