by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There were always going to be questions facing Matt Moore heading into 2018, even if he had continued to call San Francisco home. After the news came that he was traded the concern had to immediately rise, and the fact that he is going back to the American League and to a much more hitter friendly ballpark (Texas) just makes matters worse. Is there any way to consider him a viable option? Without even looking that can be viewed as a stretch, but it’s worth digging in a bit deeper just in case.
First, let’s look at the numbers from 2017:
148 Strikeouts (7.64 K/9)
67 Walks (3.46 BB/9)
37.7% Groundball Rate
The number that immediately jumps out is the groundball rate, something that has never been a strong suit (38.4% for his career). With power rising across the game that number had a significant impact, as he yielded 1.39 HR/9 last season. The number is skewed even further when you look at his home/road split:
- Home – 1.19
- Road – 1.66
The road mark is obviously scary, especially when you look at the number of home runs allowed by ballpark in 2017:
- AT&T Park (San Francisco) – 1.46 HR/game
- Globe Life Park in Arlington (Texas) – 2.95 HR/game
You could argue that the mark at home was already bad, but taking that road number and bringing it into one of the most home run friendly ballparks in baseball? Things could get ugly, and they could get ugly fast.
That doesn’t even touch on the consistent control issues he’s battled (career 3.76 BB/9) and the fact that his strikeout rate, which was once his greatest skill, was pedestrian at best. Now you take the latter and move it to the AL, where he’ll have to maneuver better lineups that include a DH, and what is there to be hopeful about? Does an 8.6% SwStr% or a fastball that averaged just 92.0 mph get you excited?
Let’s just summarize the “skills” quickly:
- Home runs will be an issue
- Control could be an issue
- Strikeouts could further regress
Does that sound like a player you want to invest in? In this case our initial reaction was a good one, as Moore is a player that should be unowned in all formats and is not a lock to remain in the rotation.
Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: