Mike Moustakas has 2 hits in his last 51 PA. Which is good for a total of 2 for 49.
Mike Moustakas has 0 hits in his last 22 at-bats (he did have a HBP).
Mike Moustakas had 0 hits in 21 at-bats from July 3rd to July 10th.
Mike Moustakas hasn't hit the ball out of the infield in his last 10 PA.
Mike Moustakas hasn't drawn a walk since July 1st (remember when we were surprised about his plate discipline and acted like it was better than Eric Hosmer's?).
In other words, Mike Moustakas is hitting horribly. In the eyes of some, obviously he has to be rushed back to Omaha to ever become good again. Because someone who doesn't hit for that long will be scarred for life. Shaking. Traumatized.
Well now, let's take a look at the at-bats over this string to gain some deeper insight about Mike Moustakas.
In 55 PA from July 3rd to July 20th, Moustakas has 5 hits, 3 of them coming in the first 4 PA. He has seen 198 pitches (103 fastballs) in those 55 PA, an average of 3.6 per PA. 17 of the PA have ended on the 1st or 2nd pitch. He has seen 60 balls, swung/looked at 46 strikes, hit 39 foul balls (29 on fastballs), and put 47 balls into play.
The outcome of the 55 PA: 5 hits, 7 strikeouts, 1 HBP, 1 Sac Fly, 18 groundouts, 13 flyouts, 9 popouts, and 1 lineout.
Out of the 9 popouts, 6 of them came on the 1st or 2nd pitch. 5 of the popouts came on fastballs.
37 of the PA have been v. RHP. 18 v. LHP. Moustakas has 1 hit v. LHP over this time.
In fact, the first deep question involves Moustakas and LHP. Does it do Mike Moustakas any good to be benched v. LHP at this moment? Over the period of the last 17 days, Mike Moustakas was benched twice instead of facing Brian Duensing and Charlie Furbush. He did get to face Mark Buerhle twice, John Danks and Francisco Liriano. Does the break from playing make his hitting in future games better or worse? Shouldn't Mike Moustakas get as many at-bats v. LHP as he possibly can so that we can get the best idea possible of his abilities v. LHP? In the minor leagues, the split between his hitting v. lefties and righties was mainly a split of his abilities to hit for power, not a split in his ability to get on base.
There's an argument for both sides, but if you're gonna tout development. If you're gonna argue for batting Escobar late in games when he was slumping "because we need him to hit in those spots".. why is Mike Moustakas development as a hitter less valuable than Alcides Escobar's? Moustakas should be getting every start possible v. LHP with Betemit gone. If he doesn't, you'll hear about it.
If you go back to Mike Moustakas' splits in the minor leagues, you find a split of 36% groundballs, 36% flyballs in Springdale last year. But you find a split of 29% groundballs/39% flyballs, 11.5% popups in Omaha. Moustakas topped 10% in popups in Wilmington (11.8%) and Burlington (12.8%) as well. Currently Moustakas has 46% flyballs/37% groundballs/27% popups.
The calling card of a struggling Moustakas appears to involve popups.
When it comes to the first pitch over the 55 PA sample, Moustakas took the first pitch 38 times and swung 17 times. When it took, the pitch was a ball 25 times and a strike 13 times. When he swung, he missed 5 times, fouled the ball off 5 times, 3 groundouts, 3 popouts, and a single.
In fact, when you go back to the strikes thrown against Moustakas, 31 were called strikes and 15 were swinging. So when Moustakas swings the bat, he missed 15 times, fouled the ball off 39 times, put the ball into play 47 times.
The second deep question is about self-confidence. The people who mention the self-confidence card seem to tilt towards people who think body-language is easy o interpret through a TV and meaningful. Is Mike Moustakas' inability to get a ball out of the infield for days at a time a self-confidence issue and not a swing issue? If someone is having confidence issues, wouldn't they be swinging at bad pitches, laying off hittable pitches in the strikezone at the wrong times? Wouldn't the self-confidence issues show up outside of hitting?
Perhaps part of the problem is that Moustakas cares too much. Listens to too much advice. Tries to change too much, and makes things worse. I'm no expert in the quality of the Texas League or the PCL, but i'm gonna guess Mike Moustakas did not hit for power in those leagues with the swing we've seen lately. Just a suspicion.
And when it comes down to what he's not hitting hard, what makes you think a stint in AAA would lead to him seeing enough quality pitches to get into enough of a groove that he could hit in the majors upon recall? Maybe the problem is that he's facing quality major league pitching, and that problem isn't going to be solved in Omaha. It's only going to be solved by facing quality major league pitching in the major leagues.
But but.. he'll be changed foreverrr if we don't let him go to Omaha to get his confidence back. No he won't. If he's not good enough to come back from a 2 for 49 string and start hitting sometime in his career, he's not good enough anyways. The reality that this team has not contended in 8 years. Has not had a good run in it in 15+ years. Has not had a youth movement carried out in 35 years. Distorts people's points of view about how to handle young players. They're not wearing diapers. They're not cutting themselves in the locker room out of sorrow. They're paid to do this and they feel failure, but when they succeed, they get over the failures. Mike Moustakas isn't going to mope over his 2 for 49 in three years. And the fact that this team hasn't had a good run thanks to young players since the 1970s leads to fans having an impatience with young players and a belief that they're better off in Omaha than facing major league pitching on a major league team that is not in contention.
But Mike Moustakas should play almost every day v. righties and lefties (yes, even against Charlie Furbush). And when it comes to his swing, he should go back to what got him to the dance and stop screwing around with the advice he gets from teammates and hitting coaches. It's better to at least try what you are comfortable with than to fail using someone else's hitting system.
Just let him play the game. If he's meant to be good, he'll hit. If he's not meant to be good, then so be it. Demoting him now or reducing his playing time won't change a thing.
Review the slump chart yourselves.