Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Moore Is Flirting with Disaster

By Bryan Lutz
Matt Moore Tampa Bay Rays
Tim Heitman – USA TODAY Sports

After Matt Moore one-hit the Texas Rangers in the 2011 MLB Playoffs, a lot of people — including myself — were expecting big things out of the top pitching prospect in 2012. While he rebounded late and had a quality season overall, Moore disappointed some folks with his lack of control and inconsistent performances.

Because of that inconsistency, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from more from Moore in 2013, figuring the base-on balls were too much of an issue to overcome. But after shutting down the New York Yankees to pick up his fourth win of the season, it appears Matt Moore is on the right path — or is he?

Look, there is no doubt Moore has some of the best stuff in the game, but the walks are still a very concerning issue. Moore’s BB/9 over 5.00 is still too high if he wants long-term success with the Tampa Bay Rays. However, Moore’s ERA is in the low-1.00s because of a remarkable 96.6 LOB%, which basically means Moore is stranding every walk he allows.

It’s inevitable that this number will go back towards the league average throughout the year, causing those walks to turn into runs instead of stranded baserunners. Once that LOB% goes into the 75-80% range, one can expect Moore’s ERA to average out.

With all that being said, I expect Moore to consistently improve over the course of his career. But, he cannot continue to have success with his erratic control and strike everyone out mindset that he is working with right now.

However, as it stands right now, the baseball world is seeing why Andrew Friedman extended the talented left-hander prior to last season, seeing as he is the only thing keeping the Rays from being one of the worst teams (record-wise) in baseball.

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