Scouting Report: If anybody's ready for The Show, it's phenom pitcher Matt Moore. It's very rare to discover any young baseball player with the talent like Moore; the kid's an absolute natural.
The young fireballer is considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball, having been ranked No.1 by MLB.com's top 100 prospects of 2012 list. Moore has been ranked within the top three prospects by pretty much every source, making him one of the most recognized prospects in all of baseball.
So, what's the reason behind all this hype surrounding Moore? First of all, the kid features some wicked, wicked stuff, making him a real nightmare for hitters. The young flamethrower lives off of his outstanding fastball, which effortlessly reaches blazing speeds in the upper 90s.
He also features a nasty curveball, along with a plus curveball. His curveball has always been a big pitch for Moore, but the changeup is now coming into effect more than ever before. His hard slider and powerful sinker, both above-average pitches as well, completing a terrific arsenal.
As expected, the 22-year-old lefty enjoyed success in his first Major League season. After pitching ridiculously well during his 27 starts for AAA Durham—12 wins, 1.92 ERA, and 210 K—Moore finally got his chance to shine on the big stage. And shine he did, in most of his 19.1 innings of his 2011 experience.
Moore really made his mark when the playoffs started, though. He had an unbelievable outing in Arlington after being called on to start Game 1 of the ALDS—just his second MLB start. He was looking like the ace of the Rays rotation, dominating Texas' big bats by shutting them out through seven strong innings. Moore would finish his brief 2011 season—including playoffs—with a combined ERA of 2.09 with 23 strikeouts.
Conclusion: If Moore is able to stay healthy, he'll be the future ace of an already-great Rays rotation, which includes David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Moore gives the Rays every reason to believe that their contract extension decision with him was a no-brainer. Moore has a lot of pressure on him, and I'm sure he'll respond positively, just as he did last October.
A lot is expected from him, and I won't be surprised to see the major rookie impact from him that everyone is anticipating. It looks like the Rays will likely have a second Rookie of the Year winner in a row this season.