Watching Game 5 of the World Series on Monday and seeing Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland crank a crucial solo home run, it reminded me of a conversation I had with Baseball America national writer Aaron Fitt comparing the Rangers’ young player with the Washington Nationals’ Tyler Moore.
There are similarities between the two sluggers, except for what side of the batter’s box they step in to. One hits lefty (Moreland) and the other is a righty (Moore), but both played college ball at Mississippi State and each grew up in the Magnolia State. Moore followed Moreland with the Bulldogs at first base in 2008.
The Rangers’ first baseman has played 181 games in the big leagues since 2010 and Texas has sometimes utilized the Amory, Miss., native in right field.
The way the Rangers have found a way to get Moreland’s bat in the lineup could be used as an example for Moore’s progress with the Nationals.
This offseason, Brandon, Miss., native Moore worked for 10 days at instructional league in the outfield after spending most of his career as a first baseman in the minor leagues.
Moreland played more outfield for the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks
Fitt said this option of having the power hitting Moore get some experience in the outfield could help get the 24-year old to the big leagues at a faster pace if he is blocked at first by Adam LaRoche or Chris Marrero.
“Moore’s power hitting is intriguing,” Fitt said. “With 30 homers in back-to-back seasons, there are not many players in baseball who can say they were able to accomplish that. I don’t know if he fits best at first base, ideally, but he could be a guy like Mitch Moreland who can play in the outfield as well, that could help to get his bat to D.C. quicker.
“Marrero reached the big leagues this season but the jury is still out on where he will fit in long term Moore has a higher ceiling because his power seems more playable. Moore might be the best option at first base down the road.”
Moore has hit a combined 62 homers the past two seasons in the minor leagues at Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, and most likely will get a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse for 2012.
Similar to Moreland or Michael Morse, the more positions Moore can play and play well will make him an easy choice for that first opportunity late next season with the Nationals.