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What to expect from Cincinnati Reds rookie Jon Moscot

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Cincinnati Reds right-hander Jon Moscot will make his 2016 debut today against the St. Louis Cardinals. His season was delayed by a strained intercostal. Injuries were an issue last year as well.

The basics from the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:

Jon Moscot, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-4 WT: 205 DOB: August 15, 1991

2013: Grade C+; 2014: Grade C+; 2015: Grade C

A fourth round pick in 2012 out of Pepperdine, Moscot made his major league debut last spring but was sidelined much of the season by a dislocated non-throwing shoulder. A healthy Moscot features an 88-94 MPH fastball that averages right at 91. He has a curve, a slider, and a change-up with some splitty action. None of his pitches are truly plus but none of them are bad, either, and when his command is on he can be a tough customer. His biggest weakness is a tendency to give up home runs if his location is off. This is a fourth starter or long relief profile. Fortunately the injury was not to his throwing arm so he should be back in the mix for 2016. Grade C+.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY

Moscot has a 3.65 ERA in 395 minor league innings with a 321/128 K/BB. He made three starts for the Reds last year, pitching 11.2 innings with a 6/5 K/BB, 11 hits allowed, and a 4.63 ERA.

Projection systems posit Moscot as a below average starter with an ERA somewhere in the 4.40-4.50 range with generally mediocre components; what he did last year in the tiny 11.2 inning sample size is what he should be expected to do over a longer period according to the sabermetrics.

My guess is that is likely correct in the short run but if Moscot can take another step forward with his command, there's enough stuff here for him to be a back-of-the-rotation starter for some time. His stuff might also play up if he winds up in a bullpen role.

Key factors to watch in the short run: how sharp is his command within the strike zone, and does he show home run vulnerability?