A big year upcoming for Tyler Moore

In Tyler Moore’s two years in a Nationals jersey, we’ve seen very different levels of production.

In 2012, his first time making an appearance in the big leagues, Moore put up a .263/.327/.513 slash line, slugged 10 home runs in 156 at-bats and posted an OPS+ of 123.

That average of a home run every 15.6 at-bats was on par with Chris Davis that season, for what it’s worth.

In 2013, Moore suffered a big dropoff. He hit to a .222/.260/.347 slash line, belted four home runs in 167 at-bats and posted an OPS+ of 66.

He was twice demoted to Triple-A Syracuse, where his numbers were really strong, with a .318/.395/.584 line and 10 homers in 173 at-bats. But that production didn’t carry over to the majors, and Moore struggled to repeat the success that he had off the bench in 2012.

Davey Johnson used to talk all the time about how tough it is for young players to have success in a bench role, because less-tenured guys don’t have experience dealing with the adjustments that pitchers make to them, and they aren’t comfortable producing when they get inconsistent playing time.

Strangely enough, Moore didn’t seem to have those issues in 2012, in his first major league experience. It was in 2013 that he saw the offensive issues pop up, and it wasn’t until mid-August that he even saw his batting average climb over the Mendoza Line.

Now that we’ve seen both the good and the bad from Moore, it’ll be interesting to see what type of 2014 season he puts up.

Can he become a productive bench bat yet again and show that he’s cut out for a big league career? Can he work his name into the mix as a possible replacement at first base for Adam LaRoche in 2015, when LaRoche’s contract has expired and the Nats will need a new starting first baseman?

Or will Moore have another rocky season and fail to match his strong 2012 campaign?

In that sense, this upcoming season will be huge for the 26-year-old Mississippi State product.

Assuming he makes the Nationals’ roster out of spring, Moore will likely be the team’s top power threat off the bench. He’ll get chances in big situations with runners in scoring position, and if he’s able to deliver a good percentage of the time, he could set himself up for a bigger role in 2014.

Moore has been seen as a late bloomer, a guy that clicked in the minor leagues in his mid-20s. We’ve seen flashes of what he can do in the majors, and now he’ll have a chance to prove he should stick there.

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