Normally, in Spring Training, you tend to take the results of the first few games with a proverbial grain of salt. You tend to not overreact to bad outings right away because pitchers are still trying to find their form and position players are trying to shake off the rust from the offseason. However, there is one Washington Nationals player who is taking advantage of early playing time that is off to a great start.
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The talk of the first three days in Viera has been Nationals’ first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore. In two games, Moore is 4-for-5 with one home run and six RBI’s. This includes a five RBI game he had on Friday against the Braves in which he hit a two-run homer to right field and had a three-run triple. Keep this in mind. With six RBI’s in two spring games, Moore is now two RBI’s away from tying his personal record for most RBI’s in Spring Training (8 back in 2013).
So far, Moore’s results have drawn a lot of praise from his manager, Matt Williams:
"“He had a great winter ball. And from Day One of spring training, for me, the winter ball helped. He came in with timing and rhythm. And he’s getting lots of at-bats, which is good.” (h/t MASN Sports)"
This March is the most important month in the career of Tyler Moore because he is out of options. Washington can no longer send him down to the minor leagues and there is not a spot open in the starting lineup for him as of right now. That being said, if Moore can continue to play well, that puts a lot of pressure on someone like Nate McLouth, who is coming off labrum surgery he had last August.
As I mentioned in my profile I wrote on Moore back in January, this is a player that came into Spring Training with a ton of confidence off of some solid results in winter ball. In 22 games, he hit .299 with six home runs and 17 RBI’s. Even if Moore does not make the team, he can still have some trade value for Mike Rizzo in trying to get something back for him.
However, the one concern about Moore’s play is in the field. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post talked about Moore “is not a natural in the outfield”. She is right when you look at the fact that he played the majority of his Major League games last year at first base. If he wants to win the backup first base job, he has to beat out Kevin Frandsen for that spot and possibly one of the non-roster invitees in Mike Carp or Kila Ka’aihue.
Yes, it is only two games, but Moore has at least stood out in these first three exhibition games. It will be interesting to see if the 28-year-old can continue to keep it up as the month keeps going and the quality of pitching continues to improve from opponents.