In Spring Training of this year, the Detroit Tigers‘ 22-year-old outfield prospect Steven Moya opened quite a few eyes when he batted .333/.364/.524 with three extra-base hits and five RBIs through 13 games. Although some wondered if Moya might be given consideration to fill the vacancy that was created by the Andy Dirks‘ injury, he was ultimately sent down to Double-A Erie to begin the season.
In two months in Double-A, Moya has been experiencing his fair share of highs and lows, but he has been on an absolute tear as of late. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound lefty has homered five times in his last six games, and he is batting .378 in his last 10 games. On the season, he has a slash line of .269/.289/.522 with a total of nine home runs and 32 RBIs. He has also hit 15 doubles and two triples this year. It should be noted, however, that he has only drawn six walks in 190 plate appearances. He has also struck out 52 times already.
It is obvious that Moya possesses a lot of raw talent, but the Tigers will most likely want to see him become more patient at the plate and cut down on the swings and misses. A look at his track record will actually reveal that he has a long history of having a less-than-stellar walk-to-strikeout ratio.
In 2011, during Moya’s first season with the class-A West Michigan Whitecaps, the then 19-year-old batted just .204/.234/.362, struck out 127 times and drew only 12 walks in 337 plate appearances. He did, however, manage to hit 13 home runs and drive in 39 runs. Although he is certainly better than he was in those days, his career minor league batting average still only stands at .245 and his career OBP is just .290.
However, his ability to hit long home runs, combined with his massive size, makes him a very attractive prospect. At just 22 years of age, he still has plenty of room to improve, and he should have a very high ceiling. If he can work on raising his OBP and getting his strikeouts under control, perhaps the Tigers will give him a chance to win a job in their outfield next season if Torii Hunter is not re-signed.