I’ll break down my Moore review into hard data (as much I can give reliably) and some brief subjective observations:
PITCH SELECTION AND QUALITY:
In innings 1-4, he balanced the changeup and the fastball pretty evenly, although the fastball was almost exclusively his out pitch. It was, certainly, his out pitch for all or almost all of his seven K’s.
Inning five saw him firing fastballs almost exclusively, as he must’ve been fully aware that it was his last inning. It would be bad wording to call it “leaning” on the fastball, though; he just knew Toledo couldn’t touch it and that he was in his last inning. I’d be interested to know if the fifth inning pitch selection was his decision or dictated by management/catcher.
I am not sure whether he was on a strict pitch count, because he threw 89 total. Five full innings.
The fastball was consistently (and I mean consistently) clocking 95 even in that last inning, with at least one 96-er in there. He’d reached 96 regularly before that.
He seemed quite capable of throwing the change whenever he wanted for strikes. In fact, I think he used it more than the fastball on the rare occasions when he fell behind in the count.
The “slurve” (as described by the radio announcers, who subsequently called it a slider) was less effective for him on this night. Ryan Strieby’s monster homer was on one such pitch, his only real mistake. Seemed like a change-of-pace pitch.
He was consistently ahead in the count, with the exception of the second inning. In that frame, he walked two in a row and almost lost a third, but stranded them effectively. In the article I read, he attributed that to the sweltering heat; it was unusually hot even for Durham in July (or hell, even for Montgomery-where he’d just been promoted from-in July).
No one touched him significantly apart from the Strieby dinger. Timo Perez (yes, he’s still around) had a single up the middle in the first, and there was another light line single from Will Rhymes in that closer-like fifth, but other than that, nothing…no hard hit foul balls, even.
I note that he shook off the Strieby homer effortlessly, 2 K’s and a popout after the leadoff jack. In fact, all three hits were followed by K’s and quick end-of-innings.
I wasn’t really able to get a great feel for whether he always put it where he wanted it, but the results (apart from the mentioned exceptions) certainly suggest he was. 89 pitches, 52 for strikes.
“PRESENCE” AND OTHER SUBJECTIVE NOTES:
He doesn’t LOOK particularly imposing. I wonder if I would’ve had any idea I was looking at such an elite prospect (before the fifth) if I hadn’t been clued in.
I doubt the fifth would’ve escaped my attention, however. It had a wow factor; you felt like you were witnessing something incredible (in that you knew he’d already been out there for a while and hadn’t lost an inch).
A remarkably assured AAA debut. I don’t know whether a first start in AAA can really be contrasted to a first start in the bigs, but it’s less debatable that the insane heat (98 and felt much hotter at game time) and strong Toledo lineup make the box score impressive.
It’s hard for me to picture this kid not having a very bright MLB future.
Ask if other questions, guys. I’ll do my modest best. Box score below.
This is Tom from Instinct HQ and I want to thank Joe for his write up after seeing Matt Moore pitch in Durham. Check back later this week for the Matt Moore Prospect Instinct as well.