by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Detroit Tigers lost J.D. Martinez yesterday to a fractured elbow, sidelining him for at least 4-6 weeks (as we await further testing). The Tigers recalled Steven Moya to take his spot on the roster, and likely in the lineup.
While Moya failed to make an impact when called upon earlier this year (.281 with 0 HR over 32 AB), he was raking at Triple-A in the International League:
.298 (61-205), 13 HR, 38 RBI, 34 R
He added 13 doubles and 2 triples, though there has never been a question about his power potential. Standing 6’7” he hit 35 HR at Double-A in ’14 and the 24-year old has seen time in the Majors each of the past three seasons. The big question has been his ability to make consistent contact (33.3% in the Majors), but it appears that he’s taken a step forward this season:
- 2014 (Double-A) – 29.3%
- 2015 (Triple-A) – 30.3%
- 2016 (Triple-A) – 20.8%
John Wagner of MILB.com (click here for the article) recently noted that Moya altered his stance, which could explain the improvement:
“To cut down on strikeouts, Moya has changed his stance, placing his left or back foot on the back line of the batter’s box, with his right foot nearly contacting the back sideline. The result is a wide-open approach that he said helps him see pitches better.”
In the same article Moya was quoted as saying:
“I’m trying to eliminate the chases down in the zone,” Moya said. “I’m trying to make pitchers throw more mistakes up; when they see I don’t swing at pitches down, they have to come up and that’s where I can do damage. My problem last year was chasing bad pitches. This style helps me to not chase bad pitches.”
That improvement is a key, as his Triple-A average isn’t even buoyed by significant luck (.329 BABIP). That’s what happens when you pair power with plate discipline, so if he can bring this success to the Majors (even if he simply limits the strikeouts to around 25%) there’s a chance that he hits the ground running and produces some gaudy numbers.
Depending on your need, he’s definitely an intriguing player to consider. Power is generally at a premium, so grabbing someone with the potential to hit 15+ HR over the rest of the way has got to bring allure. If he keeps the strikeouts in check as well, he could pair it with a .270+ average and ample RBI. Who wouldn’t want to buy that type of player?
- 10 Team League – Intriguing, but probably too shallow
- 12 Team League – Worth adding
- 14+ Team League – Must add
- AL-Only League – Must add
- Keeper/Dynasty – Must add
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com