Texas Rangers prospect Joey Gallo is a frequent topic for prospect mavens with his combination of enormous power and very high strikeout rates. In contrast, Detroit Tigers outfield prospect Steven Moya has received less press and fan attention but his profile is just as extreme as Gallo's and as worthy of examination.
Moya was signed by the Tigers out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. His minor league career is notable for heavy home run totals and equally heavy issues with contact. He played 133 games for Erie in the Double-A Eastern League last year, hitting 35 homers and 33 doubles but also striking out 161 times in 515 at-bats while drawing 23 walks. Playing for the Toledo Mud Hens in the Triple-A International League this year, he's hit 12 homers and 15 doubles through 75 games but striking out 96 times in 293 at-bats with an overall line of .232/.280/.406.
Moya has managed to increase his walk rate with 19 free passes so far but his overall production has slipped from the .276/.336/.555 line he ran up last season. His last 10 games for the Mud Hens show his talents and his flaws in microcosm: he's hit .225 in his last 10 games with one walk, nine strikeouts. . .and four home runs.
Listed at 6-6, 230, the 23-year-old left-handed hitter has the raw power you would expect from a player his size. He can drive the ball out of any stadium with ease, but despite some marginal improvements his approach remains very aggressive and he'll chase stuff outside the strike zone too frequently. Although not a stolen base threat, Moya runs fairly well, has a strong arm, and is effective in right field.
Moya's power tool is very loud and this is a 30-homer bat if he can make enough contact against advanced pitching. That is a gigantic IF of course. The risks are very high with this one but given his upside, youth, and the need for more power in today's game, Moya will be given every chance to make adjustments.