Mike Moustakas has picked up where he left off in 2017, which some would believe is a great thing because he is showing that last year is not a fluke
The two-time All-Star is trying to show the 29 teams that passed on him that they made a mistake, and he has been doing. This year he is hitting an impressive .301/.335/.569 with a .904 OPS. When you compared him to other third baseman in the league, Moustakas looks extremely impressive.
All Third Baseman:
- Batting Average (BA) – 4th place
- On Base Percentage (OBP) – 11th place
- Slugging Percentage (SLG) – 5th place
- On Base Plus Slugging (OPS) – 5th place
- Home Runs – 3rd place
- Doubles – 9th place
- Hits – 1st place
American League Third Baseman:
- Batting Average (BA) – 2nd place
- On Base Percentage (OBP) – 6th place
- Slugging Percentage (SLG) – 3rd place
- On Base Plus Slugging (OPS) – 3rd place
- Home Runs – 3rd place
- Doubles – 6th place
- Hits – 1st place
As you look at this, you can see that he is having quite a year. To prove this year and last year are not flukes, let’s look at how he has done the last two years. Since 2017, Moustakas has been hitting .278/.319/.531 and a .850 OPS.
While his OBP is not great because of his lack of walks, he is showing some power numbers. He is also a solid defender, which could help with his stock.
The biggest knock against Moustakas is going to be his position. Third base is typically not a position of need most teams go through when they are looking at the deadline. And the fact that he does not play another position besides DH, he is pretty limited to where he can go.
He is also competing against Manny Machado at the deadline. What could make him more appealing is the fact that Machado is making $16 million this year, while Moustakas is making just $5.5 million. Therefore, for a rental player, the cheaper contract might stand out more.
The other side of this is whether the Royals should trade Moustakas, or try and extend Moustakas. I can understand the side of keeping him because the Royals don’t really have a third baseman in the system and Moustakas is doing everything right.
However, Moustakas could bring back some decent prospects that can help with the rebuild. Therefore paying him $50 million-plus for four years does not make the most sense to me. Trade for your future third baseman, don’t spend big money on one that will be 30-years-old this year.
Therefore, it kind of depends on how the contending teams are doing, and I’m operating under the notion that Moustakas is being traded until proven otherwise. Teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros might be interested in the third baseman.
New York Yankees
The Yankees would be an interesting spot because they already have a full roster. The only way I can see him landing there is if they move Brett Gardner to the bench/trade him and putting Giancarlo Stanton back to being a fielder. That would allow Moustakas to become the full-time DH because third base is occupied by Miguel Andujar.
Los Angeles Dodger
The Dodgers would make sense as long as they feel like their slow start can be turned around. As of right now, Logan Forsythe, Enrique Hernandez, and Kyle Farmer are their third baseman. Neither is hitting higher than .235 on the season. Yes, Justin Turner is the regular third baseman, but coming back from injury is always something to consider. If he isn’t ready by the deadline, I wouldn’t be surprised if Moustakas is on their radar.
Which brings us to Houston. They currently have youngster Alex Bregman manning third, but he has had a less than impressive year. Although hitting .255/.372/.393 is not the worst, Moustakas is hitting significant better. So if they want to keep Bregman in the lineup, then let’s look at the DH spot. Currently, Evan Gattis is .197/.264/.278 on the year. Without going into detail, Moustakas would be a significant upgrade. If Houston wants more firepower as they try for a repeat, Moustakas can provide them that.
If he had the ability to play other positions his trading stock could be better, but unfortunately he is pigeonholed into one spot, two if you count the DH. Therefore, the Amerian League might be a more logical destination for Moustakas than a DH-less National League.