Notes: Clearly an off night for Joyce, who batted ninth in Joe Maddon’s ever-changing lineup mash-up. Okay, so he can’t really hit left-handers. But that doesn’t explain why Jeff Keppinger hit cleanup.
It’s almost impossible to earn a ranking ahead of Bryce Harper, but philosophically we consider a pitcher with present ace stuff and Major League opportunity to be more valuable than even a likely Hall of Fame hitter. Moore made considerable steps forward in 2011 in the command department and catapulted himself forward into becoming the top pitching prospect in the game. He then went on to make three appearances during Tampa’s stretch into the postseason before tossing seven innings of two-hit baseball to open the Division Series in Arlington. Pretty impressive for a 22-year-old.
Moore is 6-foot-2 with extremely clean and effortless mechanics. His body projects, but honestly, what do we need to project here? Moore is the easiest 70 fastball guy in baseball. His secondary stuff and command are top shelf, and his makeup is championship caliber. His fastball reaches 97 mph. His breaker is a deadly downer that consistently receives double-plus grades. His changeup is an easy plus pitch with double-plus potential. His slider is new and rarely used, but it is also plus. Stephen Strasburg didn’t even have four plus pitches as a 22-year-old, and he isn’t a lefty.
Matt Moore will challenge for a Cy Young as soon as he is given slack on the leash to grab 100 pitches per start and 32 or so starts per season. There is not a pitcher in the game today I would rather have signed long-term than Matt Moore. Not Gerrit Cole. Not Tim Lincecum. Not Strasburg. Not Justin Verlander. Not Clayton Kershaw. Matt Moore will be the American League’s best pitcher sooner rather than later.