This year has been an amazing season for prospects. Here at the Sombrero, we’ve celebrated the MLB debuts of many of baseball’s future stars:
- June 10: Mike Moustakas Day
- June 17: Dustin Ackley Day
- July 8: Mike Trout Day
- July 22: Jason Kipnis Day
- August 5: Brett Lawrie Day
Sunday brought the news that the Tampa Bay Rays, who are now just 3.5 games back in the Wild Card after a weekend sweep of the Red Sox, have finally called up their top prospect, LHP Matt Moore. Not only is Moore the best pitching prospect in their loaded system, he’s the consensus (including all of us here at the Sombrero) top pitching prospect in baseball. And with good reason.
The left-hander enjoyed a breakout season in 2010 for High-A Charlotte in the Florida State League. There he posted a 6-11 record with a 3.36 ERA over 144 2/3 innings. He allowed 109 hits and walked just 61 hitters while fanning 208, as he became the first pitcher since Francisco Liriano in 2005 to record a 200-strikeout season.
This season, the 22-year-old went 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA and 210 strikeouts across two levels. Ranked as The Golden Sombrero’s No. 31 prospect headed into the season, Moore dominated for Double-A Montgomery, posting an 8-3 record with a 2.20 ERA and 131/28 K/BB ratio over 102 1/3 innings. Shortly before he was promoted to Triple-A Durham, Moore fired a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts against Mobile on June 16.
After the promotion to Triple-A, Moore absolutely dominated, posting a 4-0 record, 1.37 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, and 79/18 K/BB over 52 2/3 innings. He finished the regular season with a ridiculous 210/46 K/BB, as he became the first pitcher in nearly two decades to record back-to-back 200+-strikeout seasons in the Minors.
Moore’s insane talent will now be on full display for baseball fans as the southpaw will be called up before Monday’s game against Baltimore. While he will likely work out of the Rays’ bullpen, especially with Kyle Farnsworth experiencing elbow discomfort, Moore should receive at least one start when the Rays play a double-dip against the Yankees on September 21.
It’s one thing to keep a player in the Minors if you’re out of the playoff race so that his arbitration clock doesn’t start too early. But when every game matters and your harboring a pitcher with video-game stuff in Triple-A, all concerns are thrown out the window. With the promotion, he instantly becomes the Ray’s third-best starter and their best reliever.
This September call-up carries extra significance for our staff, as Dee and Griff are both New Mexico HS alums like Moore and have been tracking his progress since he was drafted in 2007. We are all pumped to watch him continue his ascent to greatness as begins what will surely be an outstanding MLB career. Happy Matt Moore day, Sombrero Nation.