Kings of Kauffman Prospect Rankings: #3 Mike Moustakas


Who: Michael Christopher Moustakas
DOB: 9/11/1988, Los Angeles, California
Position:  3B
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 230 lb
Bats:  Left
Throws:  Right
Acquired: 2007 Draft – 1st round, #2 overall

Rankings:
~ Baseball America: #3
~ Royals Review #3
~ Kevin Goldstein: #1
~ John Sickels: #1 A
~ Royals Prospects: #2
2010 Kings of Kauffman Rankings: #3

Stats:

Year Age Tm Lev PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2007 18 Idaho Falls Rk 47 6 12 4 1 0 10 4 8 .293 .383 .439 .822
2008 19 Burlington A 549 77 135 25 3 22 71 43 86 .272 .337 .468 .805
2009 20 Wilmington A+ 530 66 123 32 2 16 86 32 90 .250 .297 .421 .718
2010 21 2 Teams 534 94 156 41 0 36 124 34 67 .322 .369 .630 .999
2010 21 NW Arkansas AA 298 58 90 25 0 21 76 26 42 .347 .413 .687 1.100
2010 21 Omaha AAA 236 36 66 16 0 15 48 8 25 .293 .314 .564 .878
4 Seasons 1660 243 426 102 6 74 291 113 251 .282 .336 .504 .839
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/25/2011.

The most exciting player for the Royals in 2011 is 2007 first rounder Mike Moustakas.

It’s not even close.

The second overall pick that year, Moose has displayed tremendous power as he’s climbed the minor league ranks.  In 2010, he lead the entire minor leagues in homers with 36, a fantastic rebound from what was widely considered a dismal 2009 campaign.

Looking back, the problems with the 2009 season were partly due to the general struggle against higher competition, part an actual “bad” season and partly due to environment.  Moustakas struck out more than any other season and that lack of contact won’t help, as evidenced by his .250 average.

He played the year in Frawley Stadium in the Carolina League, a traditionally big ballpark.  He struggled to put the ball out of the park in High A, but I’ve noticed in the past that it’s not indicative of a low power year – he still hit 32 doubles – but deep fences and big parks.  Eric Hosmer ran into the same issue in his time at Wilmington.  Looking at Moose’s ratios of doubles to homers, 2009 is the outlier.  I’d suggest that in a normal stadium (half the time) he’d put a few more doubles over the fence.

After spending the first two weeks of the season on the disabled list with a strained oblique, Moustakas destroyed Double A to the tune of a 1.100 OPS.  Sure, the Texas League is a bit offense-heavy, but 1000+ OPS numbers don’t grow on trees.

He earned a promotion to Triple A in July.  He struggled at first as he adjusted to the jump, but he got comfortable in August and returned to his pitching-destructive ways, highlighted by an absurd 4-6, 3 HR, 11 RBI night against Round Rock.

It was an announcement that he’s a force to be reckoned with.  He’s been Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year.  He was named Texas League Player of the Year.  The Royals awarded him the George Brett Award at FanFest in January as the organization’s hitter of the year.  He started the All-Star Futures Game in July.  MLB.com named him their #7 overall prospect last month.  Baseball America has him at #9 overall.

That’s a hefty resume and it’s no surprise why fans are so excited to see him.

The power is evident, but Moustakas can also make good contact with a smooth swing.  He may not be a pure hitter, but his swing and bat control are polished enough to put up good numbers on top of the power.  As a pro, he’s struck out just 15% of the time.

He’s not perfect, though.  There are questions about his approach at the plate.  His career walkrate is just 6.8% and his aggressive approach may be a leak at the big league level.  While he’ll kill a lot of pitches, he may get himself out on pitcher’s pitches too.  He’s a stocky guy at 5’11″ 230 and won’t do much on the basepaths.

There was also some concern about his long-term ability at third base, but he’s improved his defense there and has good instincts to go along with a strong arm.  His shortstop days are well behind him.

Even with his lack of patience, Moustakas should be a strong middle of the order option for the Royals.  If he can settle down and work a walk more often, he could become extremely dangerous as a hitter, as his bat is good enough already.  Adding better recognition would make it that much better.

As for 2011, Moustakas will be in Kansas City.  The question isn’t if but when.  Most likely, unless he goes off on spring pitching, he’ll start the year in Omaha until about June.  For one, that will delay his service time, enabling the Royals to keep him under team control an additional season.  Also, Dayton Moore has mentioned that he hit Omaha after some higher-caliber pitchers had reached the majors, so he’ll get a look at top pitching prospects early as a pre-MLB test.

That’s all well and good, but Royals fans are itching to see a superstar and Moustakas is the first of that group who’ll make the majors.  It’s fitting, since he’s known as a leader, so it’s fitting he lead the charge of The Process.

Keep track of the full list of prospects in the Kings of Kauffman Countdown on our Prospect Rankings page under the Organization tab or by clicking here.  Stay current on all the Kings of Kauffman content and news by following us on TwitterFacebook, or by way of our RSS feed.

Tags: AL Central Baseball Kansas City Royals KC Mike Moustakas MLB Royals

  • danny

    Kauffman is a huge park..

    Won’t Moose struggle to hit it out of the park there too??

    Billy Butler, though he hits into too many double plays, has such a solid line drive bat, that it seems the way he swings is how to swing at Kauffman.

    Fly ball hitters, like Moose and Kila, seem to have a lot of trouble in Kauffman, no matter how well they have swung the bat in Arkansas and Omaha.

    I would love to be optimistic, because with any other team, say the Reds, or Red Sox.. these two would crush the ball.

    But at Kauffman, I’m reduced to thinking they’ll be hitting sub .250 and hitting right around 20 HRs a year, no matter how big their bat projects.

    Please prove me wrong, Moose.

  • Daniel

    Whoa… how does struggling to hit the ball out of Kauffman translate into .250 with 20 HRs? You know they get to play 81 games on the road…

  • http://deleted danny

    i’m talking all year numbers, including the other 81

    i know he can crush it, i am just trying not to get my hopes up

    • Daniel

      Even Billy Butler managed to hit 9 HR in Kauffman last year. I think Moustakas can hit even more than that, plus another 10-15 on the road. That would put him at 25 at the minimum… I think you’re being way to pessimistic.

      • http://kingsofkauffman.com Michael Engel

        I’m still trying to find a site with split statistics for minor leaguers. Minorleaguesplits.com has been more or less defunct since last offseason (though there are indecipherable xls files leftover). I can’t imagine Moustakas is carrying a near-50% GB rate like Butler over his career. Also, Butler just might not have the raw power we expect – all but one of his homers last season went to left-field and the one that went to right hit the RF foul pole I believe, so it was just barely.
        When he uncorks on one, it goes a long way but he either doesn’t try to put it out or it hasn’t developed – the two times he’s had more than 20 homers anywhere came in 2009 with 21 and in 92 games with High Desert. Moose has significantly more raw power but won’t have the average, so that’s the tradeoff. I think 25 is more than reasonable to expect; maybe not in 2011 but in a full 2012? Sure.

  • http://kingsofkauffman.com Michael Engel

    Here we go
    http://firstinning.com/players/Mike-Moustakas-a/

    Moose hasn’t hit as many grounders as Billy when he puts it in play – Butler’s around 47-48% for his career. Moose’s peak is 42%. Their LD% is about the same so that’s about 6% more FB for Moose (estimated). Over time, if that’s 40% of flyballs over 600 AB and 10% leave the yard, that’s around 24 HR.

    (all crude calculations and estimates – don’t know Moose’s HR/FB at a glance)