Andrew Moore Joins M’s, Takes Yovani Gallardo’s Rotation Slot

marc w · June 21, 2017 at 3:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

A day or two after calling up Max Povse to shore up the bullpen, the M’s just called up their top starting pitching prospect in the high minors, Andrew Moore. The Oregon State product is taking Yovani Gallardo’s spot in the rotation, per Greg Johns, which would make tomorrow’s game his MLB debut. The M’s have already used 12 different starters this year, but with Christian Bergman struggling and the Super 2 deadline safely past, the M’s decided to call up someone who’s much more of a long-term option than many of the guys who’ve cycled through the 4th-5th rotation slots this year. The M’s haven’t yet said what this means for Gallardo; I assume he’ll move to the pen or maybe a quick trip to the DL.

Moore throws a straight, rising fastball that often sits 89-91, but he averaged 92 in Peoria, so it may sit at the high end of that range in Seattle. He pairs it with a curve in the high 70s, a straight change without much armside run, and Kate Preusser over at LL says he’s been toying with a slider (click that link to see gifs of his mechanics and pitches). His command and location are his best tool by far. He’s walked 8 batters in 8 starts and 48 IP for Tacoma this year, and his 44:8 K:BB ratio has to grab the attention of a front office that’s obsessed with controlling the zone.

That rising fastball and the fact that he’s around the zone so much means that he gives up a ton of fly ball contact. That’s not necessarily bad – it’s a part of the reason his BABIP is so low – but it means he runs the risk of giving up plenty of HRs. You see that reflected in his Steamer projection, for example, and of course he had a string of 8 straight games with a HR-allowed this year across AA and AAA. He’s been pretty good at limiting them (his HR/FB ratio isn’t bad), but given MLB’s HR binge, it’s tough to rely on the Chris Young method of giving up lots of fly balls but very few dingers. I think he’ll probably give up a few, so it’ll be incumbent upon him to limit baserunners and keep his walks to a minimum.

While he’s the M’s best close-to-the-majors SP, his ultimate ceiling isn’t all that high. That’s fine – the M’s don’t need an ace, they need someone who can keep them in games and, ideally, someone who’ll develop into a dependable starter for a few years. Moore’s got a good shot of that, considering his improvements within the system and what seems like intense drive. Just last year, the PCL graduated a number of 23-24 year old guys without huge fastballs but very good command: Dillon Overton, Daniel Mengden, Joe Musgrove, and Kyle Freeland. The first two face-planted, while Musgrove’s been a so-so 5th starter. Freeland’s broken out with Colorado, and actually improved upon the numbers he put up in AAA. None of these guys really pitch like Moore, so the utility of the comps isn’t great, but of the four, Mengden’s probably the closest. Even pitching in a HR-suppressing park for half his games, Mengden gave up 13 HRs in 80 IP and is now back in the PCL. Some version of that’s your pessimistic forecast: walks creep up, HRs flying out of the park everywhere, and a higher BABIP leading to another shot at developing in the minors. Freeland’s the optimistic view, though as a groundballing lefty, probably the least similar.

Christian Bergman’s been optioned to Tacoma to open up a spot on the active roster, while Tyler Cloyd’s been DFA’d to open a 40-man spot. Moore’s done everything expected of him and then some. Seen as a command/control, low-velo/low-ceiling guy, he’s added some oomph to his fastball and is striking guys out in the high minors (something Kyle Freeland didn’t do, for example). I think a lot of people – myself included, to a degree – have been waiting for a hint of a struggle in his ascent up the ladder: AA will be the test…whoops, well, maybe AAA, then? None of it’s slowed him down. He’s earned this shot, and even if he struggles to get acclimated to the fact that even 7-8 hitters can hit the ball over the fence, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him a lot the next few years.


3 Responses to “Andrew Moore Joins M’s, Takes Yovani Gallardo’s Rotation Slot”

  1. EdgarIsAHOFer on June 21st, 2017 6:34 pm

    I know his ceiling isn’t where Paxton was when he came up, or Diaz in a different role, I’m still unreasonably excited to see what he can do. Since he joined the Ms he seems to work hard and succeed at all levels he’s faced so let’s see what he can do.

    I hope he just keeps us in games and gives us a chance.

  2. sexymarinersfan on June 21st, 2017 8:57 pm

    Needs to see a dermatologist, that’s for sure.

  3. Kazinski on June 22nd, 2017 10:07 pm

    His stat line looks a lot better than Gallardo’s. 26 batters in 7ip, 4ks, 0bb.

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