I’ve gotten some form of the following question about 50 times on Twitter the past week.
‘Matt Moore has looked really good, is he a prime target given his ADP?’
The NFBC lists Moore as the 256th player off the board or 66th at the starting pitcher spot.
In the Fantasy Alarm Rankings Moore checks in at 76th at starting pitcher. Those two sources, me and the NFBC, pretty much agree on where Moore should be targeted.
Let’s break that down.
In a 15-team league that makes Moore a bottom level 5th starter.
In a 12-team league that makes Moore a bottom level 6th starter.
In a 10-team league that makes Moore a bottom level 7th starter.
I honestly don’t know how people could argue that Moore should be thought of more highly. In fact, I think we’re both being pretty generous with our rankings.
Here’s the argument others make that I’m not being bullish enough on Moore.
‘But Ray, he was an elite prospect and he looks great this spring - you hater.’
(I’ve actually gotten worse things thrown at me).
Let’s talk Spring numbers before we talk overall skills.
Moore has made three starts this season preseason covering 10.1 innings. Ten point one innings folks. Sure he has a 1.74 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 11 strikeouts and no walks over those 10.1 innings, but it’s 10.1 innings. Noticing a theme here? I don’t get how folks are all kiddy over 10.1 innings. Alfredo Simon had a 2.10 ERA last May in 25.2 innings. For the season he had a 5.05 ERA. Sample size folks.
As for Moore and his overall skills.
I can freely admit he was one of the top-5 pitching prospects in baseball. In fact, according to the rankings in 2012 he was one of the two best prospects in baseball: Baseball America (2nd), Baseball Prospectus (1st) and MLB.com (2nd). He threw gas and had a hammer curve ball that was a simply dominating pitch.
After throwing 9.1 innings for the Rays in 2011 as a first time big leaguer, Moore went 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA in 177.1 innings in 2012 followed up by a 17-4 record with a 3.29 ERA over 150.1 innings in 2013. He then started to have elbow problems which eventually led to Tommy John surgery that limited him to 10 innings in 2014 and 63 innings in 2015.
Here are Moore’s career numbers in 410 innings.
Moore has a 3.82 ERA. The league ERA in that time is 3.84.
Moore has a 1.36 WHIP. The league average in that time is 1.28.
Folks, his ratios are slightly below average.
In fact, Moore’s SIERA (4.22) and xFIP (4.36) paint him as fortunate to have his league average ERA.
Moore has an 8.45 K/9 mark. The league average is 7.74. He’s a strong option in this category.
Moore has a 4.13 BB/9 mark. That’s horrible (the league average is 2.98).
The result is a 2.05 K/BB ratio, well below the league average of 2.59.
Moore has a 0.94 GB/FB ratio. The league average is 1.10.
Moore has a 0.94 HR/9 mark, and a 9.0 percent HR/FB ratio. Both numbers are a hair better than league average.
Moore has a .289 BABIP that is league average.
The bottom line is this.
- Moore is a nice strikeout arm.
- Nothing else that Moore does stands out in any appreciable way.
- Moore, because of Tommy John surgery, has been useless the past two seasons.
- Ten innings in Spring Training means nothing. A glimmer of hope certainly, but not much else.
- We have no idea if Moore’s full talent will be realized. His stuff isn’t quite back to where it was three years ago, and there are obvious questions about not just his effectiveness this season but how many innings he will be able to throw this season after tossing just 114.1 innings the past two seasons.
If you want to draft Moore as a late option, fine. If you’re banking on some breakthrough performance I’m sorry, the data just doesn’t support that point of view.
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Ray Flowers can be heard Monday through Friday, 7 PM EDT and Friday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 6 PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).