Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) drives in a run with a double in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Moustakas Hitting for Power in Venezuelan Winter League

Sep 5, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) connects for the game winning home run in the thirteenth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Let us all take a quick break from the Winter Meetings., and focus on the field of play. There is still baseball being played, as the Winter Leagues are in full swing. There, playing for the Cardenales de Lara, is the Royals very own Mike Moustakas, who is expected to be there for three to five weeks. Moustakas is being coached by Royals hitting coach Pedro Grifol, and is hoping to use his time with the Cardenales to work on getting his swing ironed out.

Since reporting at the end of November, Moustakas has appeared in six games with mixed results. On the plus side, he has exhibited solid power, belting two home runs while driving in eight. However, Moustakas has also walked just once and has struck out four times.Thus far, Moustakas has a .240/.296/.520 batting line in his 25 at bats.

Yes, this is admittedly a small sample size, so it is not fair to base too much on these numbers just yet, but that cuts both ways. While it is great to see that Moustakas is hitting for power in Lara, he is still not displaying much plate discipline. This also leads to several questions: Is Moustakas finally going to start developing into the home run threat he was expected to become? Is he actually trying to be more selective at the plate, and it just has not yet manifested into walks? Is he really making adjustments at the plate?

Unfortunately, all we can do is look at the statistics and attempt to extrapolate what is going on. Aside from the uptick in power, at this point, Mike Moustakas is essentially putting up the same type of numbers that he put up for the Royals last season. In fact, his batting average is within four points of his career mark, and his on base percentage is identical to how frequently he has gotten aboard over his career.

In truth, unless there is a sudden increase in walks or Moustakas hits ten home runs while with the Cardenales, the true results of his time in the Venezuelan Winter League will not be known until Spring Training. There, if he keeps trying to pull the ball, seems unwilling to work with coaching and still cannot hit for power, then we will know that the time there was essentially wasted. However, if Moustakas is hitting to all fields and the power is actually developing, then the Winter Leagues could have been that springboard that he needed.

There is still time for Mike Moustakas to become the middle of the order hitter that the Royals hoped he could develop into. Hopefully, the time spent in Lara will help him tap into that potential.

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  • LGB

    He is tearing up righties but can’t hit lefties. We all know he has power. I just wish I could find out if he is working the count and what types of pitches he is hitting and what locations. I think his main issue is plate discipline

    • Dave Hill

      Same here. It is unfortunate that the VWL doesn’t have that data.

  • jimfetterolf

    I’ld still plan on Gordon taking some reps at 3rd this spring.

    Moose’s homer the other day was a right handed curve moving in and down and he jacked it into the RF bullpen. Pitch had movement, but the vid was from CF, so couldn’t see Moose’s stride or balance.

    • Dave Lowe

      Link to the video please?

      • jimfetterolf

        Can’t remember where I saw it. I’ll look around.

      • jimfetterolf

        KC Kingdom has it, my link didn’t work.

  • Dave Lowe

    Four Ks in 6 games doesn’t concern me too much. Wonder how many ABs that is?

    • Dave Hill

      25 at bats.

  • moretrouble

    Six games isn’t enough to judge. His work with Grifol may pay dividends next that are not seen in winter ball. Where else is Moose going to experiment and adjust his swing mechanics against live pitching? It seems to me winter ball is the perfect place.

    • Dave Hill

      It is admittedly a small sample size, but that is what we have to go on right now. I’m going to revisit Moustakas once he wraps up his time in the VWL.

      • moretrouble

        It’s soooo nice to have you do the stat work, Dave. Thanks for your attention to detail…and your “on point” observations.

  • unclejesse40

    I think Moose trying to hit for power is the worst thing he could be working on right now. Every pop up I have seen him hit looks like he was trying to crush the ball and just missed it. its like driving a golf ball, the harder you swing the worse the shot is unless you have perfect form. Moose does not have perfect form and I hope he is working on making solid contact and driving the ball into the gaps. Would rather have Moose hit .300 with a ton of doubles than have him hit .200 with 15-20 homers and pop up or strike out the rest of the time. Once he gets his form down, the type of body that he has will translate to home run power.

  • Chad Woelk

    If Moose can not figure it out by the end of next year then maybe Dozier will be ready to take his place in 2015. At least the Royals have someone to challenge him for his spot. We sent down Alex and Butler years ago when they were not producing and it may be the same way with Moose.

  • Terry LeRoy Payne

    Most switch hitters were initially left handed batters. If Mouse can be a spray hitter right handed it would increase his value. I was a switch hitter and the advantage of batting right handed against left handers is significant. Send him to the minors and make him a switch hitter.