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Saturday, December 22, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: MATT MOORE SP TAMPA BAY RAYS

It was a clear tale of two halves in the 2012 fantasy baseball season for young fireballing pitcher Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays.  After serving as quite possibly the most sought after sleeper in the game going into winter drafts on the heels of his impressive late season cup of coffee run with the team in the pennant race and in the playoffs itself, Moore was the guy fantasy baseball owners just had to have.  Moore screamed out "next great power pitcher", what with his 98-mph fastball that racked up a massive amount of K's as he climbed the minor league ladder.  The 15 K's in 9.1 IP during Moore's 2011 debut only reaffirmed this potential.  Also with the Rays having had good to great success in developing power pitchers (see Price, David and Shields, James), Moore seemed destined for stardom.

As with most young overhyped sleepers however, Moore hit more than a few bumps along the way which encompassed almost the entire first half of his 2012 campaign.  Moore was absolutely hideous in fact early on, posting a horrid 4.68 April and 4.83 May ERA that almost got him sent back down to the minors. It also forced many owners, who thanked their good fortune for getting him in drafts, to already cut ties with this seemingly gigantic bust.  However manager Joe Maddon stuck with Moore, correctly surmising that it was only a matter of time before his natural talent would come to the forefront.

This is exactly what happened once the All Star Game concluded as Moore went on an absolute tear in the second half of the season, ending up with numbers that were top five caliber in all of baseball during that time period.  Moore would compile a splendid 3.01 ERA and 1.21 WHIP the second half of the season, to go along with a very impressive 79 K's in only 77.2 innings pitched.  The kid was right back on schedule in his potential of becoming one of the best young starters in the game and his second half numbers were even more impressive when you consider he pitches in the AL East. 

As far as 2013 is concerned, we are very bullish about Moore as we were going into last season.  Even though we were disappointed like the rest of you over his rough 2012 start, we completely felt it was almost impossible for a guy with his stuff to continue struggling that way.  Moore obviously figured something about along the way as evidenced by the massive turn in his stats and that is why we believe this season will be even better.  The kid should easily hit the 200-K mark in 2013 and continue to maintain a mid-.3.00, with the potential to get even better as he continues to mature.  Pitching in the AL East makes it tough to say Moore will get his ERA into the 2.00 range but even if he gets it to around 3.50 with 200 K's, we reckon no one would complain about that stat line by any means,  Moore also is doing a nice job cutting into his high walk rate which will help lower his WHIP as well.  Put it all together and what we have here is a kid on the brink of a major step up in class which could thrust him into SP 2 territory this season.

2013 PROJECTION:  15-7 3.57 ERA 1.19 WHIP 203 K


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