2015 District On Deck Player Profile: Tyler Moore
By Ricky Keeler
This week, we have seen the issue of health come up on the Nationals’ roster with the injury to Jayson Werth. While Werth has stated in an email to MLB.com on Saturday that he should be ready for April 6 against the Mets, it is not exactly a foregone conclusion. Today, I want to take a look at first base being another issue of concern. GM Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams are going to go with Ryan Zimmerman at first base this point as the former third baseman switches to the other side of the diamond.
The question with Zimmerman has always been that his health and it was evident in the 61 games he played last season. While the Nats do have Kevin Frandsen on the roster that can play anywhere in the infield, there is one prospect that has a chance to have a make-or-break type of season in 2015 should Zimmerman go down. We’ve already talked about Michael Taylor, so let’s focus a little bit on Tyler Moore.
Moore was the 16th round pick of the Nats in 2008 after they failed to sign him in 2005 and 2006. He made his debut in April of 2012 and showed some flashes with the power bat, hitting ten home runs and driving in 35 runs in 75 games.
While the 27-year-old has spent time in the Major Leagues each of the past three seasons, he has been alternating between AAA Syracuse and the Nationals each of the last two years. Moore has clearly dominated the minors, hitting 29 homers in his three combined seasons with the Syracuse Chiefs.
However, as we head into 2015, Moore is out of options on his contract meaning that the team can’t send him down to the minors. Now, the Nats could always make a trade involving Moore in the future, but he has a chance to not only help at first base, but also at left field.
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This winter, Moore played winter down in the Dominican Republic. In 22 games with Toros del Este, he hit .299 with six home runs (led all Nats’ Winter Ball participants) and 17 RBI’s. Out of the six dingers, three of them came with runners in scoring position. His .429 on-base percentage was second on the team, behind Dodgers’ catcher Yasmani Grandal.
After hitting .263 with the Nats in 2012, Moore has hit no better than .231 each of the last two seasons (hit .222 in 2013). However, as he sees more time in the majors, the organization has played him more at first base.
From 2013 to 2014, Moore saw his games played at first base go up from 14 to 24. With that jump, he only got to play left field in four games after playing 40 games at the position in 2012 and 29 in 2013.
He could be a player in which the Nationals give some reps to in left field in Viera this Spring, but his position has to be at first base. With Ben Zobrist traded to Oakland, Kevin Frandsen now becomes more in play as a second base option than a backup to Zimmerman.
The problem would come if the Nationals had to play Moore for an extended period of time because he struggles against left-handed pitching. Over three seasons, he has a career .219 batting average against lefties (.257 against righties).
The question remains this for Tyler Moore: Will he make enough of an impact to stay with the 2015 Nationals or will another team look to take a chance on a player that has the power potential, but maybe has not put it all together just yet.