April 5, 2013
Chapter 4: Moore's Law
In 2007, the Rays selected David Price with the first pick in that year's draft. Selecting Price as the top overall draft pick was probably not a difficult selection for Tampa Bay; the earned Price because of their 61-101 record the season before. Yes, Price had to spend some time in the minors, but in effect he was a finished product, both a polished college pitcher and a pitcher with incredible upside. If every other club in baseball had the top overall pick that year, at least 25 of them would have picked Price.
Tampa Bay also selected in that same draft a high school pitcher out of New Mexico named Matt Moore. From what I can tell he didn't fall because of signing demands, and ended up signing with Tampa Bay for $115,000, a bonus in line with players drafted around him.
I mention these two pitchers together not just because they were selected by the same organization in the same draft, but because they are the poster childs for two different narratives when talking about the Tampa Bay organization. One narrative is that Tampa Bay suddenly got good because they were so bad for so long. In other words, by being able to select in the top portion of the draft for so long, the Rays almost had to get better. To some extent that makes sense; from 2002-2007 their first round picks (all in the top 10) have included B.J. Upton, Delmon Young, Jeff Niemann, Evan Longoria, and of course David Price. None of those players were available to the Indians, for example, and the Indians weren't exactly a good team during those years.
But then another narrative says that the Rays have become good because their scouting and minor-league development is the equal of any organization. This winter they were rated by Baseball America as having the #4 minor-league system in baseball, though that was largely because of players acquired in trades. Still, the only reason they were able to acquire Wil Myers from Kansas City is that they drafted and developed James Shields (16th round, 2000). And one of the reasons why they were fine with dealing Shields away was the emergence of Matt Moore, another unheralded draft pick.
It took a while for Moore to develop, but it looks like Tampa Bay has another great young pitcher on their hands. He has three major-league out pitches; a mid-90s fastball, a devastating curve, and of course (being a Tampa Bay pitcher) a changeup. The Indians collected 14 hits and scored 8 runs the night before in Toronto, but against Moore and the Tampa bullpen they were shut out on two hits (both by Michael Bourn) . They had some opportunities early; in the first inning Michael Bourn reached on an infield hit, and would have scored had not Desmond Jennings tracked Jason Kipnis' drive down at the center field wall. In the third inning a one-out Michael Bourn double gave the Indians runners at second and third, but they couldn't score. The Indians would reach base just once more after that inning (a Michael Brantley walk).
Zach McAllister pitched well enough to win, but the offense and the defense behind him didn't help him. He allowed his only two earned runs in the fourth when he allowed hits to Sam Fuld, Ben Zobrist, and Evan Longoria to start the inning. He would retire the next three batters, but unfortunately the damage was done both in that inning and the game. The Rays would score two more runs in the fifth thanks to Mike Aviles' two-out, nobody-on error. Otherwise I think McAllister pitched fairly well; he didn't walk a batter, and allowed six hits.
After the fifth inning ended, each team would be retired in order. Tampa's Jose Lobaton would single to begin the seventh, but would be thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double. Bryan Shaw finished up the game for the Indians with two scoreless innings, so the back end of the bullpen has now gone two consecutive games without being used.
There was no reaction thread tonight (schedule conflict), so here's the WPA graph and Roll Call. The normal schedule will return tomorrow night.
Roll Call (40 Commenters)
|22||VA tribe fan||3|
|27||Denver Tribe Fan||2|