Usually, achievements are measured in tidy, rounded numbers. The First 100 Days in Office. A 90-day trial period. Things like that.
I could do that, but I’m impatient. I’d only have to wait for nine more plate appearances to discuss the First 100 Plate Appearances of the Moustakas Regime. But again, I’m impatient. So I present to you, a quick breakdown of The First 91 Plate Appearances of the Moustakas Regime.
In some ways, the start of Mike Moustakas‘s major league career has been disappointing. It’s been encouraging at the same time. Since his debut on June 10 in Anaheim, Moose has displayed better patience overall, less power, but has been a decent addition to this point.
For all the discussion and hype over the years since being selected second overall in 2007, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Moustakas is still just 22 years old. Here and there a young phenom will bust out and take over the league, but usually, players that young end up taking their lumps early on. Considering that Moustakas has generally been a slow starter when seeing a new level, his performance for Kansas City hasn’t been that bad.
In 91 plate appearances, Moustakas has:
- 20 hits
- 9 walks
- One home run
- 15 strikeouts
I don’t know what you were doing when you were 22, but I wasn’t doing anything like that at the big league level.
Altogether, his line of .250/.318/.309/.627 after today’s game isn’t very impressive.
But again, he’s just starting at a new level. Early on for the Royals, he was drawing walks at a better than expected rate (9.9%) when compared to his minor league numbers (where his career high walk rate was 8.7% in 2010 for Northwest Arkansas). His strikeout rate (16.5%) is close to his usual rate in the minors and for a player like Moose, who hasn’t had the best pitch selection coming up, holding steady in that category is a win.
It may be a matter of comfort that limits his bat right now. Last year after being promoted to Triple A, he had a line of .247/.253/.468/.721 in 79 July plate appearances. By the end of the year in Omaha, he had finished .293/.314/.564/.878 and hit 15 homers in 236 plate appearances. For now, he has just three extra base hits. After homering in his second game after his promotion, it seemed like he might have little trouble adjusting, but until Sunday’s two-double game, he had hit just singles.
He’s trying to go the other way a lot, and that can take away power. My guess is that he’s still learning to recognize pitches from an array of pitchers that he’s never seen before. He’s also had a few line drives that were right at fielders, so his luck hasn’t been the best (at times – he still has a BABIP within the normal range). When he puts the ball in play, 23% have been line drives and 32% have been ground balls. Those are good attributes to start with.
As Moose gets more comfortable, he may but a little more force behind his swing and go for the fences. His power should increase then, but his strikeouts may as well.
But that’s what we expected, right? If he can play even passable defense at third and show good power and decent contact, that’s good enough for a rookie season.
And who knows, he might get red hot in July and August, as he has in the past two seasons.