Sep 15, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) hits a double in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Moustakas Reports to the Winter Leagues

Sep 8, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas (8) fields a ground ball against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Back at the end of September, it was learned that Mike Moustakas would be heading to the Venezuelan Winter League to work on his swing. He was expected to play for somewhere between three to five weeks, spending his time with the Cardinales de Lara, where he will be managed by Royals hitting coach Pedro Grifol. Not only will he get to spend some extra time trying to get his swing back in shape, but he will get to do so under the watchful eye of his own hitting coach.

Hoping to use the Winter Leagues as a springboard to a successful season, much like Salvador Perez did last season, Moustakas made his debut Sunday night. In that game, he went 1-4 with an RBI and a strikeout, not the thunderous performance that some may have hoped. But how much will his statistics in the Venezuelan Winter League actually matter?

In all likelihood, Moustakas is going to be spending his time working on his mechanics and working on hitting the ball more up the middle. While it would be great to see Moustakas hit .400 during his time in the Winter Leagues, mashing home runs and slugging the ball all over the park, those numbers would not mean anything if Moustakas was simply pulling everything. What may be more important would be if Moustakas displays an improved batting eye and an ability to hit the ball to different parts of the park. A willingness to accept coaching would certainly help as well.

How Moustakas performs in the next few weeks for the Cardinales may go a long way to how his 2014 season plays out. He has had plenty of chances to prove that he is going to be that power hitter that the Royals desperately need in the lineup; however, he has yet to prove that he can be that player. With prospects such as Cheslor Cuthbert and Hunter Dozier potentially nearing major league readiness, this season could be pivotal to his future in Kansas City.

The Royals are waiting for Mike Moustakas to break out, and how he fares in the Winter Leagues may be a precursor to his 2014 performance. If he is unable to show any signs of development, the hot corner may get even hotter for Moustakas.

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  • jimfetterolf

    Very good, Dave. The important things you covered well. I want to see a Gordon swing and approach, drive the ball where it’s pitched, keep balanced and back. Still think Alex should get a lot of reps at 3rd come spring, just in case. 3rd is now the big hole in the line up.

    Do you have a nic name or something? This market is small enough that the interesting writers can go by one name, but we already have David Lesky at Pine Tar and Dave Lowe among the commentators, so maybe Davey or DH? You need something unique.

    • Eric Akers

      This is the position that worries me the most. I think we have improved at both 2B and RF from the start of last year if we do nothing. But 3B could be a hole wand we have no other good options.

      I have started leaning towards Gordo as a 3B replacement as not a bad option. Nobody liked my Butler at 3B idea.

      • jimfetterolf

        Advantage to Alex at 3rd is we could keep the other four OFs, assuming we don’t do something incredibly, painfully stupid like sign Beltran for RF.

    • Dave Hill

      Thanks Jim. Glad you enjoyed the write up. I think I’m going to do a weekly Moustakas run down, even if it’s a paragraph in a post of miscellaneous Royals items.

      Most of my friends refer to me as Mr. Dave due to knowing a lot of other Daves, but DH is good. I can work with that one.

  • Chad Woelk

    Was really hoping to see Moose get back on track last season and although his second half numbers were encouraging, he tanked in the final month of the season once again. Glad Dozier seems to be playing good and can give him some competition in the near future.

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  • cardsfanatik

    Well, watching the Cardinal’s a few years ago, they had a young CF’er that wouldn’t listen to the hitting coaches too. If Moose wants to take what they have to say, and use it, to get better, I want him to succeed here. If he won’t listen, for whatever reason, Rasmus him to someone else and let him hit .200 for them.

  • Terry LeRoy Payne

    Could Moose bat right handed? Could he play the outfield or second base? Its going to take Moose a few more seasons, but he might be really good. The question is if the Royals can keep a 3b who doesn’t hit.