Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Did the Nats call up the wrong OF?


Harper knows he's ready; is the Media? Photo GQ magazine Mar 2012

As the rest of the free world now knows, Bryce Harper has gotten called up to give the incredibly weakened Nats lineup some potential offense.  Sometimes moves can be planned and orchestrated (such as keeping Stephen Strasburg in the minors in 2010 past the super-2 deadline), and sometimes your hand is called.  With Michael Morse out indefinitely, and with the most fragile $100m player this side of Carl Crawford (aka, F.O.T.F. Ryan Zimmerman) heading to the DL yet again, this team suddenly is without 55-60 homers and 200 RBIs in the middle of its order.

So, we’ll roll the dice with the 19-yr old Harper.

But, should the team really have called up a much more mature, much more MLB-ready member of the Syracuse Chiefs?  A guy who is currently putting up this line in AAA: .278/.354/.556 with 6 homers in 20 games?  A guy who has hit 30+ homers in two successive seasons, at two successive levels of the minors and is currently on a pace for more than 40 in AAA?  Yes I’m talking about Tyler Moore, a 16th round draft pick who has come out of nowhere to become (arguably) this team’s 3rd best hitting prospect in the minors today.

Yes, I know he’s a 1B primarily, and he’s just started taking reps in LF.  But after watching Xavier Nady lumber towards balls in LF and watching Mark DeRosa turn routine RF fly balls into adventures, how much worse could it be to stick him out there instead and juggle Harper with Werth and Ankiel in CF and RF (matchup dependent)?  Scouts and pundits have routinely discounted Moore’s abilities, and Mike Rizzo‘s scouting trip last week apparently made his mind up for him, so perhaps there’s a method to his madness.  Maybe Moore really isn’t an OF option despite his LF experiments.  We’re not watching him game in and game out, just typing out blog posts from our dining room table.

Either way, the Nats should get at least a more competent batter in the line-up.  If Harper comes up and starts blasting the ball all the better.

10 Responses to 'Did the Nats call up the wrong OF?'

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  1. Agree. Though others are saying Moore is really really raw in RF and needs more games. I wider why he’s only been in the OF twice this yer when they said he was transitioning.


    28 Apr 12 at 1:15 pm

  2. How about Corey Brown, too? He was hot until a week ago or so…


    28 Apr 12 at 2:11 pm

  3. Tyler Moore has played three games in the OF in his career. Raw doesn’t begin to describe it. And you want to have him learn on the job at the major league level? Unless he hits like Adam Dunn, he’s not going to help the team.

    Even given that, Rizzo considered it. He went to Syracuse and watched three games. He watched them all practice and play, and went with Harper. It’s easy to second guess on the internet, but given the way he’s built the team up over the past three years, it’s just possible that Rizzo knows what he’s doing.

    John C.

    28 Apr 12 at 3:55 pm

  4. Agreed. Hence my caveat in the post to the same effect. But. You don’t need a track star to play LF. 30 homers in a minor league season isn’t anything to sneeze at; he’s done it two seasons running and is on pace for more this year. The team needs offense; Moore is offense.

    Todd Boss

    28 Apr 12 at 5:38 pm

  5. he’s gonna have to hit .400 to get added back to the 40-man. Once he fell off and didn’t get claimed, a death’s knell fell over his career. I do see he’s stepped it back up in 2012, which is great news. Perhaps if one of our CFs gets hurt he could get a look.

    Todd Boss

    28 Apr 12 at 5:39 pm

  6. I don’t get it either. He plays RF a couple games and then the manager puts him back at 1b. why? Also, why isn’t Harper playing CF full time either?

    Todd Boss

    28 Apr 12 at 5:45 pm

  7. Being pushed aside for a 1st overall pick is less of an insult than if you’re being replaced by a 16th-rounder with no previous experience in the outfield. Rizzo is mindful of how the veterans like DeRosa and Nady would perceive such a move.

    John N.

    28 Apr 12 at 5:45 pm

  8. Hmm. Nady is 7 for 50 and DeRosa is 3 for 37 on the season. I think the “veteran” in both players would understand that they’ve had nearly a month of time to keep their spots and, especially in Nady’s case, he’s lucky he hasn’t been released. DeRosa knew the score when he signed here; clearly he was intended to be a backup infielder. But Nady has to know he’s on thin ice.

    Brandon Inge had a THIRTEEN year career with the Tigers and was outright released after starting the season 2-20. I think in some cases, you put aside sentimentality for production.

    Todd Boss

    28 Apr 12 at 5:58 pm

  9. I’m guessing Rizzo is confident of Harper’s ability to handle the pressure immediately – the kid’s been in the national spotlight for so long he probably craves the attention. His presence alone will take the heat off of some players on the roster who are not producing. The numbers would suggest Moore is ready for a shot, but maybe Rizzo is less sure of his mental makeup. Does anyone know if Moore is a low-key type or a ‘rah-rah’ kind of player?

    John N.

    28 Apr 12 at 6:23 pm

  10. I could be wrong, but isn’t T Mo on the 40 man?

    James J

    29 Apr 12 at 6:18 am

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