Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr did not have first baseman Tyler Moore much last year, but realizes what an asset the Mississippi State star can be and why he resides on the 40-man. With the recent injury to Chris Marrero, it is likely that Moore will see a ton of time in Triple-A Syracuse at first base.
'You just can't deny the numbers of the year," Knorr said. "They are incredible. Some people just have the knack for driving in runs. They just know how to do it. He hits a home run when you need it, he advances runners. He just finds a way to do it."
Knorr said that Moore made a good leap defensively this season with his footwork and aggressiveness with the glove and the Nationals have looked at several ways to get his back to D.C. Moore experimented in the outfield during instructional league play in October.
"This is probably the most improved defensive year that he has had," Knorr said. "They have actually brought to his attention left field, too. It actually helps him be more versatile for us. This, in turn, benefits us (because) you have another right-handed bat off the bench like that can hit the ball out of Yellowstone. You can put him in the outfield and then go get him later on (for first base)."
This sounds familiar with the way Michael Morse had a breakthrough season in 2011 with work in left field and at first base. Moore, with his athletic ability, might be able to fit that same mold.
So, with such valuable bats in Triple-A Syracuse, should the Nationals bring up guys like Tyler Moore (or a Chris Marrero) to be a full-time utility bat on the 25-man? Can they afford to do that?
Knorr uses the example of Marrero, who is a little more advanced right now than Moore, as a player who has done all he can do in the minors.
"I look at it like can Chris Marrero anything in Triple-A to get any better? No," Knorr said. "He knows his swing, he had a great year last year, he needs to play in the big leagues. Now, would it be difficult for him to come off the bench and learn that (role)? Yes, I think so."
Knorr said you can get to the point of no return with some prospects, especially ones as advanced as a Marrero.
"You get to the point with some players that if you do send them back (to Triple-A) it is just detrimental to them. They think they did something wrong. They try to do something more to get back to the big leagues which, in turn, backfires on them.
"I think Marrero is in that position. You don't need to do teach him anything else (in Syracuse). He is ready to hit in the big leagues. He showed it in September, I thought he did well."
Knorr believed Marrero had a great chance to make the 25-man out of spring training, prior to his recent hamstring injury.
But with the torn hamstring and rehab, we might not know until later in the season where Marrero will start. Obviously, Marrero will get back up to speed at Triple-A Syracuse and then the team will decide, depending on Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse and the bench situations what they will do.
Either way, a healthy Marrero and the lethal bat of Moore put the Nationalsin a good depth position at first base.