Nationals Baseball: U < 3 Tyler Moore - Y?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

U < 3 Tyler Moore - Y?

Obviously I don't. We've discussed this all before. But some people still do. In fact one of his biggest fans, might be the Nats biggest fan, one Mr. Tom Boswell. In yesterday's chat he writes :
He's got such a sweet swing, such potential-Josh-Willingham numbers in the minors and in '12 that it's brutal to think he might get lost. And the years are passing. ... Once you see him swing you start liking him better. Hard to believe somebody with as sharp an eye as Willaims won't see the hitter in Moore.
For a second I thought he was saying Ted Williams would recognize Tyler Moore.  Of course he meant new skipper Matt, but I'm not betting 100% that he wouldn't have gone the Ted route if that made sense. The people that love Tyler Moore LOVE Tyler Moore.

Of course if you've listened to me you understand the reasons to NOT love Tyler Moore. Older prospect who can't field and can't run, has hit abysmally over long stretches in the major leagues. Pretty cut and dried to me. Where is the love coming from?

One part of it is the fact that Tyler Moore has done well in spurts. A .425 / .521 / .800 June 2012 when we first started to pay attention to him .452 BA in his first nine games back toward the end of 2013.  That single to give the Nats the lead in Game 1 of the '12 NLDS. These are times where the focus was on him and he did well. It should tell you something that even with these hot streaks and limited at bats overall he still manages to be a below average hitter, but for some people it doesn't.  These times above are what sticks. Everything else slips off the mind like it was coated in teflon.

The other part is that Tyler Moore has had impressive offensive numbers in the minors

2012 : .307 / .374 / .653
2013 : .318 / .395 / .584

How can this guy NOT make it?

There are two things here that they aren't seeing.  First is that the number of at bats here is limited as well.  He's had more at bats in the majors than the minors the past two years. Those 2012 numbers were put up in 29 games, 2013 in 45.  Basically he played a month in the minors in 2012 and a month and a half in 2013.  Those are small enough numbers that even combined they should raise an eyebrow, especially given the far more pedestrian numbers in the seasons preceding those when he actually had, you know, a lot of at bats. All power, nothing else.

The second thing is that Tyler Moore was hitting that well at an age where honestly he should be in the major leagues if he was any good. Late bloomer, you say? I did a little experiment. I went back and looked at all 25 and 26 year olds (the age Tyler Moore was the past 2 years) who had big AAA years (OPS > ~.875) from 2012-2007 . I even looked at only the International League to avoid the PCL bias toward big offensive numbers.  Here's the list of names for you

Jordan Danks - 74 career MLB OPS+
Tim Fedroff - hasn't made it
Zach Lutz - 85
Corey Brown - 74
Alex Presley - 98
Trevor Plouffe - 95
Denis Phipps - 176
Russ Canzler - 96
Brandon Guyer - 65
Jose Lobaton - 84
Andy Dirks - 100
Tyler Flowers - 74
Mauro Gomez - 100
Danny Dorn - hasn't made it
Jeff Clement - 74
Wladimir Balentin - went to japan
Andy Marte - 69
Jordan Brown - 59
Jeff Florentino - 77
Steve Pearce - 87
Justin Ruggiano - 102
Ryan Rayburn - 103
Ben Francisco - 98

This is pretty amazing stuff here. Given the sheer number of guys and the general lack of at bats you'd expect someone to luck into a significantly better than average major league career but the only guy who has is Denis Phipps, who only had 10 ABs in 2012 then hit .248 / .331 / .385 in AAA in 2013. You can read these names. Tell me who has a good career? It's hard to say that even for the guys with passable plate numbers.  I basically kept going back until I found someone. Ryan Rayburn has had a worthwhile career and Ben Francisco had 2, maybe 3 decent years before petering out.

There is a bit of bias here - these guys had to qualify for the batting title. I suppose there may be some great 25/26 year olds who rocked AAA for such a short time frame that I missed them. But it doesn't take much. Forty to Forty-Five games will do it. Moore qualified in 2013. If I include even older guys the numbers barely move. If I go back further I can get a few names.  Six to seven years ago I could pick up a Zobrist or Morse (who really only gave a couple good years, let's be honest), a little longer back Carlos Ruiz, and a decade or so ago Youkilis, but there are a ton more failures than successes.

What the above tells me is that once you hit those upper 20s, you aren't doing well in the high minors because you are developing. You are doing well in the high minors because you are peaking. You are the best you are going to be. Maybe if you got a full-time job in the majors, right at that moment, you'd pull off an average year or two, but poor years are far more likely than good ones. It's a bad gamble.

Looking from the outside in, Tyler Moore has nothing going for him. Ok, that's not true. He has had a consistenly powerful bat in the minors that could translate into a decent PH HR bat as the last man on a bench. Could. But the Nats need a true 1B back-up not a guy who might be a platoon pop-only bat. If the Nats can deal Tyler Moore they should do it. The last decade of baseball tells us the worst case scenario is losing a couple of fair years and the most likely scenario is losing nothing at all. 


Donald said...

I think (or hope) Rizzo realizes Moore has very limited upside. Unfortunately, I'm sure that all of the other GMs know this too. So how much can you realistically get for him anyway? The Nats need a back-up 1B this year, so might as well keep him around. I'd rather see him stashed in Syracuse than at the end of the bench but whatevs... by which I mean, if the last bench option is between Kobernus, Walters or Moore than whatevs.

Moore clearly isn't being groomed as the 1B of the future. The fact that Zim is taking reps over there is as much a reflection of that as his own throwing issues, IMO. If Rizzo were to move Moore, what exactly could he get for him anyway? A poor to middling A or AA prospect? A 4th round pick?

Harper said...

can't trade draft picks can you? I'd say the best bet is a formerly highly respected arm, still young (<23) who looks like 1 bad year from being kicked to the curb. Like say... Alex Wimmers

something like that.

Donald said...

After seeing a photo of Adam LaRoche from ST, I thought of one more critical role Moore can play on the Nats this year. He can tame any inclinations they may have of mimicking last year's Red Sox and all growing bushy beards.

Donald said...

I didn't realize there were such limitations on trading draft picks. Hadn't really thought about it but should have noticed that it doesn't really happen. It is allowed, though, starting last year in a limited way.

JQuest said...

Tyler Moore looks good in his uniform and looks good swinging the bat. The same could be said for Kate Upton, but she's not going to help us win games.

He's filling a spot until Skole or Walters is ready, right?

Wally said...

Agreed, TMo shouldn't make the 25 man roster. Not only can't hit enough to make up for no field, he also doesn't provide a unique skillset given the rest of the roster. RZim or Hairston can play 1st in a pinch or platoon. In the absence of a trade, I think Perez adds the most versatility as the 25th man, with his defense and base running.

You are right that TMo has had some moments for the franchise, so maybe they can do him right by sending him somewhere that might give him a bunch of at bats so he can feel like he had an extended chance. A place where all parents are strong and wise and capable and all children are happy and beloved. I don't know. Maybe it was Utah.

If you are going to quote Boz, wasn't the 'Desi turned down an $85m extension' a little more interesting?

blovy8 said...

Well, I also wouldn't bet that Moore doesn't have a 2013 Mike Carp-type of year in him. Hell, a 2011 Carp year would be ok. It won't be enough to make his career look passable, but it'll fit the spot. If he doesn't hit at all, they're not keeping him around anyway, and plan B happens with a tarnished veteran, or prospect like Walters, Souza, Goodwin, et al.

blovy8 said...

The bar for the last guy off the bench is pretty low. It's really more the idea of a "pinch hitting specialist" that you seem to be holding out for Harper. I'm beginning to the warm to the advantage of Moore's spot as roster flexibility at the moment. As long as Zim can play 1st, it really doesn't matter who ends up there as long as they can hit better than the next option. No one is going to be blocked if they deserve a call up, and they're free to gamble on some other club's impatience if they stay healthy. Besides the last two bullpen spots, where's the drama on this club? Carroll vs. Espinosa?