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Tyler Moore's unreal streak

In the middle of July, Potomac hitting coach Matt Nokes sat down with Tyler Moore and told him not to worry about his batting average, which at the time sat south of .200. All the coaching staff and the organization wanted to see Moore prove is that he was moving forward in the final months. A couple good weeks, and he would be back to where the Nationals wanted.

"No one expected him to take it that seriously," Nokes said Sunday afternoon in the Potomac dugout, laughing out loud at the memory.

The comedy comes from the absurd month-and-a-half that has followed the chat. Moore has turned from a first baseman batting .195 into perhaps the most devastating slugger in minor league baseball. Today, Moore was named the Carolina League Player of the Week, which they might think about renaming The Tyler Moore Award. He has won it four times in six weeks.

This past week, Moore went 11 for 24 with four home runs, two doubles, 13 RBI and six runs. He had an 1.125 OPS last week, and excuse Moore if that's a letdown for him. It actually dropped his OPS since July 15, which is now a mere 1.406.

Since July 15, a span of 37 games, Moore has hit 18 home runs, one every eight at-bats. He has 55 RBI and 39 runs. He has a .424 batting average, a .475 on-base percentage and a .931 slugging percentage. Nine. Three. One.

"I've never seen anything like it," Potomac starting pitcher Trevor Holder said.

There was nothing that predicated Moore's sudden burst. "I hadn't shown any power, really, in the minor leagues," Moore said. Last season, Moore hit .297 with nine home runs. He did well to rise in the organization, not quite well enough to make much more than a ripple. He immediately hit with more power, blasting 10 home runs by midseason, but his average, partly because of bad luck on balls put in play, plummeted. He struck out far more than he did last year.

"This is the level where they starts infiltrating the parts of your zone you can't hit, your weak spots," Nokes said. "They found them, and he needed to make some adjustments."

As Moore tried to acclimate, he became tentative. When pitchers made mistakes, Moore fouled them off. He worked diligently to correct his problems, but then thought too much at the plate. During one chat, Moore told Nokes, "I'll be looking for a pitch and feel good about it and right before the guy releases it I think, 'What if?' " Moore looked in a clubhouse mirror, examining where he held his hands and how he stood.

"The first half, I was just thinking a lot going to the plate," Moore said. "I was really just over-thinking every situation possible. I was making it real, real tough for myself."

The change happened instantly. When he thought about what pitch might come or where his hands were, he'd tell himself, "Just shut up, man. That's stupid." On July 15, he drilled a home run with a hellacious swing. In the dugout, Nokes leaped out of his seat.

"I started laughing, because it was what I wanted him to do all year -- hit with conviction," Nokes said. "It was literally like slow-pitch softball. Just, 'Whack!' "

"I feel like I went back to hitting," Moore said. "I said, 'Enough is enough.' I just went back to hitting. It was like, 'Oh, there it is.' A light went off in my head.

"In the second half, I was just trying to get that competitive edge back and just stop thinking about everything. Just going up there and competing with the pitcher, trying to keep everything simple. Just seeing the ball and hitting it."

He hasn't stopped. On Sunday morning, the scoreboard at Pfitzner Stadium rolled through Carolina League leaders. Moore had 102 RBIs, and the closest hitter had 79. His teammates joked that he better watch his back because someone was right on his tail.

These have not been cheap home runs. On Saturday night, one of Moore's home runs flew into the trees beyond the scoreboard in left-center field. The second clanged off the scoreboard so hard it rolled all the way back to the infield.

For the season, Moore has 71 extra-base hits, more than anybody in baseball. Nokes tells him jokingly he has to ignore him and not say anything at all anymore. Moore still reminds himself not to think too much.

"I've got to be as simple as possible," Moore said. "I'm going up there to hit."

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 23, 2010; 4:48 PM ET
 
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Comments

Is this why they still haven't re-signed Adam Dunn...? :-)

Posted by: Juan-John1 | August 23, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

According to the Potomac website, the opposing pitcher for tonight's game against Wilmington will be someone named Aaron Crow. Someone remind me why that names sounds familiar ...

Posted by: mjhoya12 | August 23, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice work, Nuke.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | August 23, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

No! It's because Dunn has always been an inconsistent hitter and a poor fielder. But then why didn't they trade Dunn for Dan Hudson? Haven't a clue. Rizzo missed the boat on that one. And yes, I'm jeeves who has never figured out how to get his pseudonym back on this site. Natsfan helped me figure out how to do it on Natsinsider but essentially I'm still technologically inept. Oh wait, you already knew that.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | August 23, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

One thing that might be interesting to consider would be the secondary average or SEC by Bill James? Comparing Chris Marerro to Tyler Moore. Both appear to be similar first base / slugger prospects? the SEC was considered a better measure of effective offense in the minors by John Sickels.

(2B)+(3B*2)+(HR*3)+BB+(SB-CS) / AB
In Tyler Moore's case it would be: 40+6+84+34+0 / 453 = .362 average.
In Chris Marrero's case it would be: 25+0+60+39-1 / 462 = .266 average.

But Marerro is in AA and Moore is in A+?

Comparing apples with apples might help?

in 2009 Marerro would be: 27+4+51+50-2 / 489 = .265.
in 2009 Moore would be: 30+6+27+40+0 / 421 = .292.

Moore consistently looks a lot better overall than Marerro and continues to improve?

While Marerro consistently stays around a .260-ish SEC average.

Posted by: periculum | August 23, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

OK, here's something I don't understand...
these may be the best 6 weeks of Tyler Moore's career. If he's not going to be a prospect, WHY ON EARTH IS HE NOT IN RIGHT FIELD??? I mean, ok, the productive part of his career might last all of 2 months. (See Morgan, Nyjer; Short, Rick; or Davis, Crash.) Then get him up here and hitting until he cools off.

Seriously, someone tell me why not.

Posted by: Section406 | August 23, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

No! It's because Dunn has always been an inconsistent hitter and a poor fielder. Posted by: jcampbell1 | August 23, 2010 5:09 PM

Amazing how many Nats' fans attack Adam Dunn, the best of the Nats' sluggers. Why not go after all the AAA guys on the major league roster and say how awful they are? That would make more sense. Yeah, I know, the many AAA guys on the big league make no real money, whereas Dunn wants a salary commensurate with his value. You want to protect the owner's resources. I get that.

But aside from that, you say Dunn is inconsistent? Ha. Over the last 6 seasons (2004-2009) here are Dunn's HR totals: 46, 40, 40, 40,40, 38. Who is more consistent than that?

RBI: 102, 101, 92, 106, 100, 105.

OBP: .388, .387, .365. .386, .386, .398.

This season, he is on the same boring pace: 31 HR, 78 RBI and .354 OBP.

All that is consistently excellent. He may be too good to be a Nat.

And his fielding? Needs much improvement, but he is in his first year at the position.

Posted by: EdDC | August 23, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Ed, you can't keep bringing logic and large sample sizes into a poop-throwing fight. It confuses people.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 23, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Srsly, you don't turn a kid's whole career path upside down based on a couple of good months at the plate. He's in A+ ball--I didn't see it in the article, but I think he's 23 years old. Even if they do re-sign Dunn, it'll be a couple of years before he's up here, if he makes it that far. He's hitting this off A pitching. Keep your shirt on.

*************************
OK, here's something I don't understand...
these may be the best 6 weeks of Tyler Moore's career. If he's not going to be a prospect, WHY ON EARTH IS HE NOT IN RIGHT FIELD??? I mean, ok, the productive part of his career might last all of 2 months. (See Morgan, Nyjer; Short, Rick; or Davis, Crash.) Then get him up here and hitting until he cools off.
Seriously, someone tell me why not.
Posted by: Section406 | August 23, 2010 5:40 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 23, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"This season, he is on the same boring pace: 31 HR, 78 RBI and .354 OBP."

@EdDC we'll have to wait and see what September holds but August has really brought his numbers way down.

Adam Dunn so far in August: Dunn in August: .192/.289/.796

If this trend continues this could be his worst year in the last 6.

Posted by: periculum | August 23, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

peric,

I give you 6 and 2/3 seasons and you answer me with three weeks.

Posted by: EdDC | August 23, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article. Sounds like Moore's brain was slowing down his swing. It's good to be prepared, to know what a pitcher likes to throw in which counts, etc., but sometimes you just have to stop thinking, turn off your brain, see the ball, and hit the ball. Hope he can keep it up!

Posted by: bucky_katt | August 23, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

@Periculum

We get that Moore has a better SEC avg, but consider the competition. You seem to be missing the part where Marrero is 30 points behind in AA (where the best prospects generally are), while Moore is putting up his numbers in A+, as you point out. You can't compare their numbers 1:1.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | August 23, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Jeeves, glad that you were able to log in on the other site. Can't remember what hoops I had to jump through to log in here when the interface changed, but it did add a "1" to my moniker.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 24, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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