As you all know, Mike Moustakas wrapped up his first year of professional baseball in Burlington, Iowa last week. It is safe to say that Mike got off to an extremely poor start in his first month of pro ball. His April line was a horrid 190/253/226, culminating in a 479 OPS. In addition to his hitting woes, Mike also committed a bevy of errors at SS. He was moved mid season to the hot corner after the Royals acquired SS Juan Rivera from the Dodgers in exchange for former whipping boy, Angel Berroa.
Needless to say it was not the debut that the Royal faithful were anticipating. However, it isn't uncommon for high school guys to have a similar acclimation to the harsh climate of early season baseball in the Midwest League. It is also worth mentioning that Mike was one of the younger players in the entire league, living outside of his native Southern California for the first time.
But in a true display of Ross Gloadian grit, our favorite Greek-American Royal rebounded from his dismal debut. If you throw out his first month Mike's overall season line comes out to a 348 OBP and 498 SLG for an 846 OPS. And even including the first month he earned an 805 OPS. This is especially significant considering the league average was 693. Mike also finished the year with a 291 BABIP, showing that his numbers are likely in line with what they ought to be. Mike also took 43 free passes as opposed to 86 K's. The strikeouts are a tad high, but nothing to be astounded by. It would be great to see a line in Wilmington next year of 60BB/75K's. That would show a good step forward in plate discipline.
However, the most impressive thing that Mike accomplished was his league leading 22 dingers. It is hard not to be thoroughly impressed with a 19 year kid leading the Midwest League in HR's. He looks to have all the power that he was billed with coming out of Chatsworth High.
It is reported that he is settling into the hot corner fairly well. It was written in this months Baseball America that at one point the Royals sent Joe Randa up to Burlington to help Mike get adjusted there. And for what its worth I got one opportunity to see Burlington play this summer and Mike seemed comfortable at third, and boy does he have a cannon for an arm. Mike looked like a prototypical Catcher, but I suppose that is a discussion for another day.
Also, for what its worth Mike excelled in the Midwest League while fellow 2007 draftee Josh Vitters was placed in the Low A Northwest League. To be fair Vitters did post an 863 OPS with 5 HR's there before earning 14 AB promotion to the Midwest League. Also, fellow Chatsworth High Grad Matt Dominguez posted an oustanding 853 OPS with 18 HR's in the slightly more hitting friendly South Atlantic League.
In all, 2008 was a success for the organizations top hitting prospect. He did pretty much anything you would want your top overall pick to do right out of high school. Going forward it would be great to see Mike hit the ground running in Wilmington next year, possibly earning a late promotion to Arkansas sometime in July or so.
"I'm looking at you, Alex Gordon"