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Is The Moose Finally Loose?

As long as he can keep up his improved plate discipline.

I wanted to know how much to buy into Mike Moustakas's outstanding spring training. He is currently hitting .467/.561/.867 with four home runs. To see if he is doing anything is different, I looked at every one of his spring training at bats available on (not including last night) to see if I could find any changes. While there may be some small swing adjustments, his eye has improved immensely.

I went over each plate appearance and they are all listed out in detail at the end of the article. Here is the summary of what I saw.

  • Not one foul pop up to the third baseman. Bizarre.
  • He laid off some borderline pitches for called strikes. Also, he seemed to take a lot of first pitch strikes.He seems to be waiting for a good pitch to drive.
  • Some swing and miss on breaking and off speed stuff especially late in the count.
  • Still swings too much at pitches up in the zone.
  • Extra note: Moustakas came to bat after Perez most of the time. Perez is chasing pitches way out of the zone a ton.
Overall, he is not swinging as much at balls or borderline strikes. The increase plate discipline can be seen with his increase walk rate and lower strikeout rate.

Season K% BB% K/BB
2014 ST 10.5% 17.5% 0.6
2013 16.1% 6.2% 2.6
2013 ST 20.8% 6.5% 3.2
2012 20.2% 6.4% 3.2
2012 ST 26.6% 3.8% 7.0
2011 14.0% 6.0% 2.3
2011 ST 25.9% 18.5% 1.4

This spring training is the first time he has a double digit walk rate since spring training in 2011. Also, he is at a career low K% which has led to his first sub-1.0 K/BB ratio. Walk and strikeout are the first stats to stabilize for hitters, so some hope exists for a turn around. It would be nice if he could keep the K/BB near 1.0 during the regular season.

While Moustakas won't be even close to a +1.400 OPS for the regular season, his increased plate discipline does provide some hope he can make significant improvements in 2014. We will find out in about a week if he can keep it up.

__________________All the plate appearances on MLB.TV_______________

March 22 vs Texas Rangers

vs Tommy Hanson - R
Hanson pulled a Duffy. He got Moose down 0-2 with two outside strikes and then threw four pitches not even close to the zone.

vs Tommy Hanson - R
Fly/Line Out
On 1-2 count fit a fly/line to center field (3.6 sec), shoe string grab by CF.

vs Tommy Hanson - R
Four pitches, one close.

March 20th vs Angles

vs Jered Weaver - R
Ground out
First pitch swinging on fastball down the middle

vs Jered Weaver - R
Strike out
Weaver's breaking pitches owned him on a called strike (curve) and a swinging strike (change) to end the at bat.

March 17th vs Rangers

vs. Matt Harrison - L
Crushes a high hanging curve.

vs. Joe Saunders - L
On a 3-2 count, he nails a high slider with no movement. Nice level swing.

vs. Joe Saunders - L
Chased high and inside to take count 0-2. Didn't swing a four pitches out of the zone (one foul).

March 13th vs Indians

vs. Zach McAllister - R
On 1-2 count, took an outside fastball the opposite way.

vs. Zach McAllister - R
Ground out
Took a couple of close called strikes and then chased a curve into the dirt for weak contact.

vs. Bryan Price - R
Sac Fly Line Drive
Solid line drive on high fastball right to Jeff Francouer (who weak armed a throw to home in which Butler scored).

March 8th vs Brewers

vs. Marco Estrada - R
Pop up (shallow CF)
Some classic Moose here. Chased some high pitches and then skied on to CF.

vs. Marco Estrada - R
Fly out (deep CF)
Estrada just ate him up with off speed pitches.

vs. Jim Henderson - R
On the first pitch, Moose lined a bullet off the first baseman's glove which could have went for extra bases had not put a glove on it.

March 5th vs Diamondbacks

vs. Patrick Corbin - L
On the first pitch, outside fastball, he hits a soft blooper to CF.

vs. Patrick Corbin - L
One B.S. called strike. Chases slider in the dirt for strikeout.

vs. Joe Paterson - L
Home Run
No doubt home run. Took the first pitch right down the middle. The second pitch at the same location was a home run.