Mike Moustakas demotion: Royals 'should be embarrassed' and other reactions

Ed Zurga

Relief? Less shame? Anger he was given this much rope? Tell us how you feel.

Andy McCullough at the Star writes that the Royals had contemplated making a move with Moose for two weeks, and that the third baseman handled the demotion "like a pro."

Jerry Crasnick at ESPN discusses Moose's demotion and reports that George Brett thought Mike was primed for a breakout season this year.

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs looks at some of Moose's problems, including the fact that Moustakas is the only player in baseball who makes less contact on balls in the strike zone than he does on balls out of the strike zone.

Making contact out of the zone can be okay if you’re also making crazy amounts of contact in the zone — Victor Martinez is a current example — but if you’re swinging and missing at strikes and putting the bat on balls, well, things aren’t going to go very well for you.

For his career, Moustakas has been pretty normal in this regard, posting a 70% O-Contact% and an 88% Z-Contact%. For whatever reason, he’s been unable to hit strikes this year, and he’s compensated by hitting balls instead. That’s a pretty decent sign that something is haywire, making a trip to Triple-A a pretty decent plan. The Royals have had success rebooting failed top prospects before, and if Moustakas can figure out whatever Alex Gordon figured out, then he could still go on to have a decent career.

But right now, Moustakas is lost.

MLB Traderumors points out that Moustakas is just shy of three years service time, meaning an extended trip to Omaha could push back arbitration and free agency for the third baseman.

Craig Brown (remember him?) at Royals Authority is skeptical Moustakas can have the kind of rebound Alex Gordon and Billy Butler had after their demotions.

In 2008 when Butler was farmed out, he was hitting .263/.330/.339. Not so much power – just one home run and 11 doubles in 206 plate appearances – but he wasn’t an automatic out. Gordon, who you could argue had his development hampered by injury, was hitting .194/.342/.323 after returning from a thumb fracture suffered in spring training when he was sent down. Again, not an automatic out.

The difference is Moustakas is a career .236/.290/.379 hitter. That covers over 1,600 plate appearances. And he’s getting worse. Going back to the start of 2013 he’s hitting .216/.273/.355. That’s in 653 plate appearances. Gross.

Greg Hall  doesn't get why the Royals are being applauded for the move.

I am hearing a number of people in the media applauding the Royals for this move. Why? The organization should be embarrassed that it took the complete and utter collapse of this highly-touted prospect for them to act.

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