The Detroit Tigers promoted outfield prospect Steven Moya to the major leagues yesterday, immediately getting him into the line-up where he went 2-for-4 against the Baltimore Orioles with a pair of strikeouts. Moya received brief big league trials in 2014 and 2015 but with just 34 at-bats in the Show he is still a rookie. Let's see where he stands.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Moya signed with the Tigers as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He developed into a huge power producer, crushing 35 homers in Double-A in 2014 and 20 more in Triple-A last year, but with a very high strikeout rate and few walks.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book
Steven Moya, OF, Detroit Tigers
Bats: L Throws: R HT: 6-7 WT: 230 DOB: September 8, 1991
2013: Grade C; 2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade B-
There are few mysteries with Steven Moya. He has enormous power. He has a strong throwing arm. He has intimidating size. He runs well for a big guy and is actually a very good defensive outfielder at either corner. He also has holes in his swing the size of Jupiter and an extremely aggressive hitting approach. If you put him in a major league lineup for 500 at-bats you’d likely get 20 homers out of him, but he could very well hit .170. Although they are nothing alike physically, think of Moya’s bat as "Joey Gallo with fewer walks and 70-power instead of 80-power." Whether Moya can improve enough to be a regular or just be an interesting bat off the bench/Triple-A basher remains to be seen. If I had to guess I’d say he improves just enough to be a viable role player for a few years but never fully unlocks his natural talent. Grade C+.
Moya didn't like that comment and has been on a tear for Toledo this spring, hitting .310/.341/.627 with nine homers already. He also has 29 strikeouts against just five walks in 126 at-bats. He's made some improvements with his pitch recognition but still remains prone to swing-and-miss and may always be so due to his huge wingspan. He runs well for a big guy and is a very decent defensive outfielder at either corner, so he is not just an automatic DH type.
While there are quite a few 4-3 grounders on his resume, he is strong enough to drive the ball out of any part of the ballpark when he gets the right pitch. According to his 2015 and 2016 spray charts from MLBFarm.com, 10 of the 32 homers he's hit over the last year and change have been to left or center field.
Here's a mash to right-center.
And a similar long crush.
Although he's been around awhile Moya is still just 24. While he may never hit for a high average against big league pitching or post strong OBPs, the combination of power and athleticism will keep teams interested. He seems like the type of player who will have a strong-but-short run of success in his late 20s, the type who makes an All-Star team when he's 27 and is in the Mexican League at age 32.