Tyler Moore’s role for next year is very much uncertain.
He could become the Nationals’ everyday first baseman. He could become their everyday left fielder.
He could be a right-handed bat off the bench. He could even be a trade candidate, if the Nats re-sign Adam LaRoche and other teams in need of some power come calling.
Very little regarding Moore is clear at this point. But this much is clear - the 25-year-old has shown he can flat-out hit at every level at which he’s played, and that includes the major leagues.
He crushed 31 home runs at high-A Potomac in 2010, hit 31 more at Double-A Harrisburg in 2011 and then smacked nine homers in 29 games at Triple-A Syracuse this season before landing with the Nats for good.
In 156 at-bats with the Nationals, Moore hit a whopping 10 home runs. That number might not sound all that impressive initially, until you put it in perspective.
Moore’s 15.6 homer/at-bat ratio (I didn’t even need a calculator to get that number; mom and dad would be so proud) would rank 10th-best in the majors, if he had enough at-bats to qualify among the league leaders.
Yes, in his first season as a big leaguer, Moore’s homer/at-bat ratio ranks above sluggers such as Jay Bruce, Adrian Beltre and even LaRoche.
Among Nationals players with at least 150 at-bats, Moore’s .513 slugging percentage led the team and his .840 OPS ranked third on the roster.
Obviously, all these numbers all come in a relatively small sample size. But given Moore’s power numbers his past couple seasons in the minors, the stats aren’t a fluke. It’s just a question of whether Moore can sustain his early success.
On top of all that, as if transitioning to the big league level of play wasn’t enough, Moore had to make another transition after joining the Nationals: a career first baseman, Moore needed to learn how to play the outfield.
He had just four games of minor league outfield experience under his belt, but learned on the fly with the Nats, spending extra time with former third base coach and outfield coordinator (and now Astros manager) Bo Porter, getting reads on fly balls and becoming more comfortable in left field.
Moore won’t win any Gold Gloves out in left, but he showed he can hold down the position if need be, and he stands to improve if given more work there during spring training.
We don’t yet know what Moore will be able to do if he’s given a full workload next season. We don’t know where he’d fit into the Nationals’ defensive rotation or lineup.
We do know, however, that Moore has plenty of pop in his bat and is a very intriguing player going into 2013.