After hitting 31 homers in back-to-back seasons, first baseman Tyler Moore is the hottest young power hitter in the Nationals organization.
Moore hit 15 homers in his first two professional campaigns, and then exploded for 62 in his last two seasons at Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.
With first base locked in at Triple-A Syracuse by Chris Marrero, and because of Adam LaRoche's presence in D.C., the Nationals decided to try out Moore in the outfield during instructional league this month in Viera, Fla.
Marrero did quite well for himself in the final month of the regular season up with the big club, so Moore may have first base all to himself next year in his likely promotion to the Chiefs.
But if there is a logjam, Moore could be an "option" to play in the outfield, according to Nationals director of player development Doug Harris.
"We will see how spring training plays out and next year's championship season," Harris said. "A lot of variables play into a decision like this. You cannot really forecast as much as prepare for the possiblity (of Moore playing in the outfield)."
And if all this plays out, it looks very likely that Moore will get his promotion to Triple-A Syracuse.
Harris said Moore "warrants the opportunity get at-bats at the next level. We have to be creative too. I don't think it is a stretch that Tyler can be successful in a corner outfield position. He came to us as a third baseman before we moved him to first base, so I believe he is versatile."
It is likely that Moore will play in either left field or right field some next season. Moore spent half of instructional league camp working in the outfield and showed promise.
"He really did a nice job," Harris said. "He picked up the nuances of playing outfield like a pro. He is not the most rangy guy, but he made good reads on balls hit his way, took good routes and he throws well. He really has a good arm."
Harris was impressed with the enthusiasm Moore showed to learn the new positions.
"(Tyler) is really a wonderful young man," Harris said. "He jumped all in and worked to get every rep that he could. He is not the most vociferous guy, but he is consistent every single day. His approach doesn't vary much. He really has a calming influence on those around him. He is a leader by example more than a vocal leader."
So when Harris talks about Moore moving to the next level, it looks pretty good that the Mississippi State product will move up to Syracuse at some point in 2012 - and get some time to roam the outfield as well as play first base. With 62 homers in two seasons, you cannot let that bat miss chances on the bench.