Last season, Seattle Mariners right-hander Andrew Moore made huge strides in showing he should be a fast riser to the big leagues. A breakout season between two levels put Moore on the prospect map and earned him a trip to big league spring training.
He continued his progress in his first start of 2017.
Moore was fantastic on Opening Day for the Mariners newest Double-A affiliate. He went into the sixth inning with a no-hitter and wasn’t really in trouble at any point. Two of the five base runners he allowed in his six innings were via fielding errors. He struck out seven and walked just two.
So, what do the Mariners have in Andrew Moore?
Moore was taken out of Oregon State, a compensation round pick at the end of round two. The 22-year old right hander isn’t a dominating presence on the mound, standing at just 6-foot and 185 pounds.
John Sickels gave Moore a B- heading into 2017, ranking him No. 8 amongst Mariners prospects. Here’s what he had to say.
…fastball peaks at 93 and is usually right at 91; however it plays up due to his command; mixes in curve, slider, change-up; none of his pitches individually grade more than average but his pitching instincts are exceptional; on paper a future number four starter, but don’t under-estimate him. ETA 2018.
As John points out, Moore isn’t so much a power pitcher, but gets by on finesse. Last season he was an overall success at two levels. He dominated the California League to a 1.93 ERA (although a 3.18 FIP). This is a bit surprising in the power-happy league, as Moore is fly ball pitcher behind a 0.71 ground out to air out ratio (he recorded five fly outs on Opening Day compared to one groundout).
He has a bit of a funky delivery. There isn't much of a toe tap and he appears to sweep his left foot right into the windup. It also give the appearance that his entire body is used in the delivery. Perhaps as he continues to fine-tune his mechanics, that can help add more velocity.
He was impressive in Jackson’s run to the Southern League championship once promoted as well. Between both levels last season, Moore finished with a 12-4 record and 2.65 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was really what catches your attention. Not surprisingly, he didn’t average a strikeout per inning, registering 7.34 strikeouts-per-nine. His command, however, is what separates him. He walked 31 batters over 163 innings last year, improving his career walks-per-nine to an impressive 1.51 rate over 208 career innings.
Moore isn’t on his way to the big leagues this season, but he is certainly worth keeping tabs on. He should reach the tricky Pacific Coast League this season, which will be a good test against his fly ball tendencies. It will also show just how much work he needs on his secondary offerings.
Right now, it’s easy to agree with John. Because he doesn’t have awe-inspiring stuff, he is projected as a back-end of the rotation starter. But he has excelled and exceeded expectations at every level he's pitched at thus far. Moore could be one of the more under-the-radar pitching prospects in the game. He is certainly worthy of keeping tabs on in 2017.