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 Is Tearing Up Spring Training Again

Aug 30, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) hits a double in the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Royals 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

It has been an excellent Spring Training for Mike Moustakas. He has been hitting the ball with authority, displaying the power stroke that tantalized so many scouts and prospect prognosticators during his minor league career. It finally appears as though Moustakas has finally become that player we have all been waiting for him to be.

With Moustakas’s production thus far in Spring Training, that above paragraph could potentially be applied to this year. However, that paragraph could have been applied to Moustakas prior to last season as well. He certainly appeared to have turned that corner in Spring Training in 2013, putting together a .389/.429/.718 batting line with five home runs. Of his 28 hits, thirteen went for extra bases. His strikeout rate was decent, and he drew five walks in 78 plate appearances. Despite not walking much, Moustakas was still fifth on the team in regards to the number of pitches he saw in Spring Training. It seemed as though Moustakas was about to build off of his promising 2012 season, and become the player that the Royals needed in the middle of their lineup.

Instead, as we all know, Mike Moustakas struggled from the onset of the 2013 season. Through April, Moustakas had posted an abysmal .195/.276/.299 batting line. A home run hit on April 30th kept him from being shut out entirely in the month of April. That first month set the tone for the rest of the season, as Moustakas finished his disappointing 2013 with a .233/.287/.364 batting line and only 12 home runs.

Now, after working on his swing in Venezuela and coming into Spring Training in the “best shape of his life,” Moustakas is once again tearing up the Cactus League. Yes, it is only four games into the Royals Spring Training schedule, but Moustakas already has four extra base hits. In today’s game, he hit two home runs. Could this finally be the year that Moustakas puts everything together?

For Mike Moustakas, it may have to be. Hunter Dozier and Cheslor Cuthbert are both getting closer to being ready for the major leagues, and Danny Valencia is waiting in case Moustakas falters. If Moustakas is ever going to prove that he can be a viable player for the Royals, this may be his last chance.

Right now, Mike Moustakas is off to a hot start in Spring Training. Maybe this time, it will carry over to the regular season.

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  • jimfetterolf

    From pictures I’ve seen, his swing looks better; body upright and centered between the feet, hips rotated, head down. For a guy who last year said, “I’m all hands”, this is something of a breakthrough. We’ll learn more when Clint and Lee get to Surprise, as they will look at stuff like that and respond to questions.

    • Dave Hill

      Definitely. Unfortunately, where I’m located, i only get what I can by following the pitch by pitch plotter on ESPN or CBSSports. I’m cautiously optimistic about Moustakas this year.

      • jimfetterolf

        I use MLB Game Day, so only have pictures to go off of, but the above picture is of a good swing. One of the homers was on a slider, which is positive, and Ned Yost commented on Moose’s good at bats. With talent and health it all gets down to mechanics.

    • Dave Lowe

      Jim, I’ve been waiting ever since George Brett retired for another Royals hitter to mimic George Brett’s batting stance. The closest I’ve seen are Chris Davis (last year) and Josh Hamilton (a few years back).

      I’m sure Moose’s stance as you described isn’t like George’s, but I’ve read George’s comments about Moose so far in spring. He said he’s going to have a monster season, he’s driving the ball to left center with power, and both of his HR’s today were to RF.

      We’ll see if this carries over into the regular season.

  • moretrouble

    I don’t mean any offense by this, but everyone’s swing is different — certain aspects of which all good hitters have in common — but to say someone looks good down here doesn’t really mean anything. The pitchers right now are throwing predominantly fastballs and working both sides of the plate. Maybe, they mix something in every once in awhile, but mostly they’re trying to get their work done against live hitting, rather than doing BP or bullpens. The hitters are just getting their swings in against live pitching and running bases without getting hurt. The regulars will being jacking it up the last couple of weeks. There are a few guys trying to make the club who are going full-out, but not many. Right now, it’s impossible to say who’s going to have a good season and who’s not.