After going 2 for 3 with a double in yesterday's 7-5 Grapefruit League win over the Houston Astros in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, Washington Nationals' slugger Tyler Moore is 12 for 31 this Spring (.387/.394/.742) with six doubles, a triple and a home run in 12 games. Moore's success at the plate shouldn't come as a surprise.
"The more at-bats T-Mo gets, the better he is," Nats' skipper Matt Williams explained earlier this month, as quoted by Washington Times' writer Tom Schad, repeating an oft-stated view:
"And that I think is the case with everybody because you develop rhythm and timing and certainly seeing pitches every day helps. That game speed helps. When you sit over there on the bench and are asked to come in and get one at-bat or a spot start, it’s never easy for anybody."
Hitting with consistent at bats, of course, has never been the problem for Moore. It's been finding consistent at bats in the Nationals' lineup for the now-28-year-old, '08 16th Round pick who enjoyed success coming off the bench in his rookie campaign in 2012 (.263/.327/.513, 9 doubles, 10 HRs in 75 games, 171 plate appearances) but has struggled in a bench role at the major league level since (.225/.274/.360, 11 doubles, 8 HRs, 105 G, 278 PAs).
After making most of his plate appearances at Triple-A Syracuse last season, Moore went to play Winter Ball this year, to get more at bats and get his timing down before the start of Spring Training.
As Williams told reporters, including MASN's Chris Johnson, earlier this month, Moore's work in the Dominican Winter League paid off.
"'[F]rom Day One of spring training, for me, the winter ball helped,'" Williams said. "'He came in with timing and rhythm. And he's getting lots of at-bats, which is good. Just an example today of what he can do. Both balls to the other gap, staying on them. He's seeing the ball good.'"
With Moore out of options and continuing to hit, it probably shouldn't be a surprise that other teams are once again expressing interest in the hard-hitting left fielder/first baseman either.
The San Francisco Giants are reportedly watching:
One hotter the Giants are monitoring is Washington's Tyler Moore— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 20, 2015
[ed. note - "Mr. Gammons obviously meant 'hitter.'"]
As FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal noted last night in an article discussing the out-of-options market in the last few weeks before Spring Training ends, "[Moore] would seem unlikely to be traded, considering that Nationals outfielders Jayson Werth (shoulder), Nate McLouth (shoulder) and Denard Span (abdomen) all could start the season on the disabled list."
#Nationals open to trading Tyler Moore, if . . . Story:... http://t.co/RXlEtizsrv— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 21, 2015
The Nationals, however, Rosenthal writes, "would trade Moore if a deal made sense, according to major-league sources.":
"They obviously would not give Moore away -- they view him as an average to above-average major leaguer based on his minor-league numbers and projections, sources said."
The injury issues with Werth, Span and McLouth and the fact that Moore is the likely backup option at first should Ryan Zimmerman once again miss time with injuries this season, would seem to work in favor of Moore making Washington's Opening Day roster, but, "Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is always open to making a deal," Rosenthal adds.
"Rizzo," Rosenthal writes, "... is very precise with his requests during trade negotiations, rival executives say. If the Giants or another team offer the right deal for Moore, great. If not, Rizzo simply will move on."