After back-to-back thirty-one home run campaigns in 2010-11, Tyler Moore debuted in the majors in 2012. The Brandon, Mississippi-born Washington Nationals' 2008 Draft pick started at Triple-A Syracuse last season, where the then-25-year-old slugger posted a .286/.364/.597 line with three doubles and seven HR's in 22 games before he got the call. In the majors in 2012, Moore had a .263/.327/.513 line with nine doubles and ten home runs in 75 games and 171 PAs.
Moore singled in what ended up being the winning run in Game 1 of the NLDS with St. Louis in his first and only postseason at bat. In the first 37 games and 101 plate appearances this season, however, Moore's struggled, posting a .149/.198/.266 line five doubles and two home runs so far in 2013. After the Nationals took both ends of a split doubleheader with Minnesota on Sunday, the Nats sent the 26-year-old '08 16th Round pick back to their top affiliate, opting to keep Chris Marrero on the major league roster after calling him up as the 26th Man for the games with the Twins.
"Tyler Moore," Davey Johnson said after the game, "we sent him out. I had a talk with him and you know, just -- we need to get him some playing time. [Bryce] Harper is coming back and there won't be as much playing time. And I don't want to waste that talent just sitting around. I'd rather have him [get] some playing time. He'll be back soon. He's an outstanding player. But I just want to get him freshened up. Kind of like what we did last year, I wanted to do it earlier and then we had some injuries [that] prohibited it."
Moore debuted in the majors on April 29, 2012 and went 3 for 19 in his first 12 games before the Nationals sent him back down to Triple-A. He was called back up a few weeks later and impressed Davey Johnson with the adjustments he made. "I think when he was here the first time and then he went back out and then he came back in," the 70-year-old skipper told reporters in 2012, "I think he learned from that experience and he's doing more things and staying prepared and he's much more aggressive when he goes up to pinch hit."
The outfielder/first baseman was back in the majors on June 8th last summer, and he stayed with the Nationals through the team's run to the division title. Moore posted a .277/.349/.562 line with nine doubles, 10 HRs, 14 walks and 39 Ks over 63 games and 152 plate appearances after he returned to the major league roster.
"He's a great talent and he'll go down there, and... it's good that he left with a nice base hit in the afternoon," Johnson said Sunday afternoon after announcing the decision to send Moore out, "... and I think he will go down there with a good frame of mind."
Chris Marrero will remain in the majors with the Nationals. At Triple-A this year, the right-handed hitting and throwing first baseman/outfielder had a .306/.355/.502 line with nine doubles, a triple and ten home runs when he was recalled for the first time since 2011. He's also hit left-handed pitchers well, posting a .308/.367/.538 line in 66 at bats for the Syracuse Chiefs. Moore has a .103/.163/.154 line against left-handers in 43 plate appearances with the Nats so far this year.
"I told him that it's a tough situation for a young player with your talents," Johnson said of the talk he had with Moore after the decision was made. "And he said, 'I know I can do it.' And he said, 'You've given me every opportunity, and it's all on me.' But we think so highly of him, this is the best thing. Just get him some regular playing time. Last year he wasn't down very long, came back and I expect that to happen this year too."
"Sometimes, the second time around, you may over-think it," the Nationals' manager explained when asked why Moore's struggled this year. "You may try to do too much. And first time up, you're just being aggressive, looking for something to hit hard. It's kind of like when you haven't played golf very much and you got out and play and you just try to hit the ball solid. And then once you start feeling like you've got it kind of going, then that's when it starts going sideways, cause you're not just thinking about hitting it solid. Same kind of approach."