If you did know already, Mike Moustakas in playing for Royals hitting coach Pedro Grifol’s Venezuelan team, Cardenales de Lara, for the next few weeks. Yesterday he blasted a home run to left field, his second homer of the winter. But this was the first one to be aired on television and then uploaded to YouTube.
Moose is batting .240/.296/.520 with two home runs and a double in 25 at bats. He’s crushing right-handed pitching, however, to the tune of .385/.429/.846 in 13 at-bats. Sadly, this means he is 1-for-12 against lefties, but if he is going to hit righties like that in 2014, the Royals will most certainly take it.
This is a big year for Moose, whose major league future will probably be decided in over the course of the next nine months. After being ranked as high as the ninth overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America in 2011, Moose has started his career in the majors poorly, batting .244/.296/.385 (85 OPS+) with 37 home runs and 78 doubles in 1,493 plate appearances. If he is going to be a serviceable third baseman for the Royals then he is going to have to start being at least an average hitter at the plate.
Royals fans were told Moose had “light-tower power” coming up through the minors, and his numbers would suggest he had it. In 1,910 minor league plate appearances Moose had 84 home runs, 117 doubles and 7 triples, which added up to be a .503 slugging percentage. But he’s slugged just .385 in the majors and has not contributed anything else of value at the plate.
If Moose is going to be the player everyone thought he was going to be coming up through the minors, he is going to have to rediscover his power stroke. And not just home runs, but doubles and triples, too. If he breaks out, pairing him with Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, and Alex Gordon will make for one of the game’s best middle of the order lineups. If not, KC is going to struggle to score runs again.