Thursday, June 21, 2012

2nd time has been charm for Moore

US Presswire photo
Tyler Moore is hitting .471 (8-for-17) since his return from Class AAA.
Just about every ballplayer, upon getting promoted to make his big-league debut, tries to insist the game is no different at this higher level of competition than it was at every previous level.

It's not always as easy as it sounds, though, as Tyler Moore found out last month when he first joined the Nationals.

"Yeah, exactly. It is the same game, but also there's a lot of stuff that comes with that game, too," Moore said. "There's a lot more fans. The stadiums are bigger. It makes your adrenaline get up a little more. You just have to learn how to calm yourself down and realize it is a game, and I play the best when I'm calm."

These days, Moore is feeling plenty calm with his surroundings. After struggling during his first big-league stint, he has returned and reasserted himself as a potent offensive player.

After hitting .158 (3-for-19) with seven strikeouts in his first 12 games -- which prompted a demotion to Class AAA Syracuse -- Moore is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with only two strikeouts in six games since rejoining the big-league roster.

"It was of course disappointing [to be optioned to Syracuse] but at the same time they had to make a move," he said. "I just went down to the minor leagues and got some at-bats and got some repetition back. And then I came back up here and I've had a lot more at-bats than my previous time up here. That helped me a lot, getting more at-bats and seeing more pitches to get back in a rhythm."

Moore has indeed found himself in Davey Johnson's lineup more regularly this time around. He's become a mainstay presence against left-handed starters, either in left field or at first base (where he's playing tonight against Rays lefty Matt Moore).

Johnson sees a different player during this stint, one who appears more comfortable with his surroundings and who has learned how to adapt to more sporadic playing time.

"Just getting over probably a little bit of nervousness," Johnson said. "It's very difficult for a young player who's used to playing every day to get into a rhythm where you feel real confident about seeing the ball and the strike zone. ... In the big leagues, you sometimes try to take the same approach as if you were playing every day."

Another difference has been Moore's approach at the plate; he's not falling behind in the count as much and being forced into using defensive swings (which may in part explain the drop in his strikeout rate).

"I think he came back feeling like he needed to be a little more aggressive," Johnson said of Moore, who crushed 71 home runs over his last 1,121 minor-league at-bats. "He has a great stroke. I love his stroke. He's short to the ball, uses the whole field. He's quiet up there. Once you have some results, it just locks you into that same approach."


SonnyG10 said...

Let's have more of Moore!

Gonat said...

5 RBIs in the start in Toronto and the kid almost single-handedly gets full credit for that win. He carried the team that day. Why won't they start him against RH batters and play some LF and give Lombo some time at 2nd?

After watching Espi the last few games batting LH, looks like the same results. 0-3 last night with 2 K's. Oh yah, that's right, Espi is perfecting his shorter swing.

rogieshan said...

Even though he didn't end up with a hit, but I thought that 11-pitch at-bat tonight against Peralta was the best one by a Nats hitter all year. I have been really impressed with his patience and plate coverage.

D'Gourds said...

Next year when Werth is back and LaRoach is most likely gone, is Moore our every day first baseman? Or does Morse move to first and Rizzo packages Moore in a trade and picks up a true center fielder/leadoff hitter? With Lombardozzi performing so well, it's hard not to play him either at second or left field and leave Harper in CF. A lot of "good" problems to face next year. I like Tyler Moore a lot--but time wil tell whether he is a solid starting everyday firstbaseman. From what I've seen, he's no LaRoach defensively, but who is?

Gardner said...

Why would Laroche be gone next year? The mutual option is pretty attractive for both sides IMO.

JamesFan said...

I fear a reverse Matt Capps deal--trading great young players like Lombo and Moore for an old vet for a possible short-term benefit.

I think we have the future centerfielder. His name is Harper. We have plenty of people who can lead off. It's not critical. My hope is that they give Moore plenty of playing time this year and decide whether they are better with Moore or Morse at first. Let LaRoche go after this year and put either Moore or Morse in left field in 2013. Right now, we just need a couple of guys to get back on the bench and stand pat with what we have.

Pilchard said...

Power bats are hard to come by. Especially ones that will make the MLB minimum over the next few years. Moore is a valuable commodity. If the Nats traded him, they would need to receive considerable value in return.

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