Trade Me Matt Moore

Sure, it’s a buy-low piece. But what I’m really saying is, trade me Matt Moore. Because I’m buying.

We can start with his strengths, even if they are obvious. His 11.9% swinging strike rate is fourth among qualified starters. Only Cole Hamels, R.A. Dickey and Stephen Strasburg garner more whiffs. That leads to a strikeout per inning, which is extremely valuable from a starter. All from a wicked 95+ mph fastball and a great changeup and curveball combination.

Speaking of that pitching mix, Dave Cameron did point out that Moore has some problems versus left-handers this year. But will this really be a problem going forward? After all, when he’s facing lefties, he has the platoon advantage. He’s walked more lefties than righties in his career (13.8% to 9.8%) and struck out fewer (16% to 27.5%), but he struck out 27.3% of the lefties he faced his rookie year. And when seen as a whole, Moore was just as good against lefties than righties in his minor league career (save for a few strikeouts).

There’s a minor note of interest in the platoon splits of his pitches — the curve has a reverse platoon split, and the straight change has the biggest reverse platoon split in the business. But the power change is neutral. Moore’s changeup has the vertical movement of a straight change and the horizontal movement of a power changeup. Good luck figuring that one out, but it’s easy to come back to the fact that the lefty starter with reverse platoon problems is rare.

But we know he can strike people out. More importantly, can he stop walking guys?

Luckily, we set up some conditions for a possible expected walk rate last week. The best walk rates come from pitchers that throw first strikes, pound the zone, get players to reach for pitches outside the zone, and have low contact rates. Matt Moore does all of that save one, and that one he’s done in the past.

Moore is getting a first strike 61.9% of the time compared to the league average of 59.7%. That puts him in the top fifty of starters. He hits the zone 49.9% of the time (49.4% average) and batters make contact on him 74.6% of the time (80% average). So far, he’s only getting swings on pitches outside the zone 28.2% of the time (28.5% average), but that wasn’t the case in his rookie cuppa joe (31.3%). Just watching his stuff dip and dive around the zone, my subjective feeling is that he’ll get batters to reach a little more as he sticks closer to the zone.

Making this improvement more likely even than his PITCHf/x plate discipline stats suggest is the fact that Moore did not have a walks problem in the high minors. He walked 7% in Double-A and 8.8% in Triple-A. Those walk rates suggest something closer to the 8.2% that’s average in the bigs this year than the 11% he’s currently showing.

At the very worst, I’ll end up with a strikeout boon on my team. His high strikeout rate should also keep the ERA respectable. And, given his work around the zone and in the minor leagues, Matt Moore obviously has upside beyond. So trade him to me.




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


28 Responses to “Trade Me Matt Moore”

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  1. Ryan says:

    Who you taking in a 20 team, 8 keeper dynasty league:
    Moore or Wainwright?

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  2. Isaac says:

    Man…I’ve been trying to nab Moore in my keeper league for a while but his owner isn’t stupid. He has him at 5 bucks right now (260 dollar), 14 team league….helluva Keeper.

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  3. mcbrown says:

    Throw out some hypothetical position players you’d part with for him, straight up.

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    • Alex says:

      I’m hoping to try to offer Jed Lowrie or Howie Kendrick (Keeper League)

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      • Bo Diaz says:

        Lowrie or Kendrick for Moore? I own Moore in a keeper league, and either of those players would be such a a lowball offer that I wouldn’t even open a dialog with you.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        those might be fine in a redraft though

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      • Ragoczy says:

        Ditto to Bo Diaz’s comment. I own Moore quite cheaply in a keeper league and probably wouldn’t be interested if you offered BOTH Lowrie and Kendrick unless I was really hurting for MI, had pitching in spades and both of those had really good contracts.

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  4. Kiel says:

    ellsbury or pedroia for moore? 13 team 5 keeper

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  5. Alex says:

    Traded C.C. ($38) for Moore ($3) in a keeper league, oddly right before C.C. got hurt. Was the only chance I had to land him. Yes…I am in sell mode already.

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  6. Dan S says:

    Traded Chris Davis for Matt Moore in a standard h2h league, and starting him against the Yanks tonight. We’ll see how it goes.

    Watched him pitch against the Red Sox w/ Felix Dubront on the mound against him. It was cool to see two youn lefties through mid 90’s against eachother. Moore’s delivery and pitches (even though he lost) seemed much crisper.

    Still like Dubront, but it’s clear he doesn’t have anything near the upside of Moore.

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  7. El Guapo says:

    You got Matt Moore for Chris Davis? And the trade passed a Trade Review Board?

    Any openings in that league. heh heh

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  8. soamx says:

    I traded $33 Hamels for $6 Moore and $5 Ian Kennedy in an ottoneu league last week.

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  9. SteveJobs says:

    I moved Moore + Papelbon for Lince + A. Hill in a 16 team league where saves are extremely precious. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.

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  10. philosofool says:

    What about his stamina? I’m worried that his problems stem from wearing out. Look at his pitch count splits, http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=moorema02&year=&t=p)

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  11. JY says:

    16 team keeper league.

    I`ve just traded moore for hosmer.
    And find out Eno`s article just updated. (lol)
    Is it bad trade for me????

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  12. Nick says:

    The way he started tonight Eno, you might be able to grab him off waivers soon!

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  13. cs3 says:

    How was the title not “Gimme Some Moore”?

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  14. Bruce says:

    Just traded Goldschmidt for him in a 16 team H2H non keeper. Got depth at CI and need a little depth at SP with Strasburg “shutdown” uncertainty. How did I Do, Eno?

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  15. ianstallman says:

    “His two-to-one strikeout to walk ratio, made possible by that high strikeout rate, should also keep the ERA respectable.”

    That statement confuses me a bit. Moore’s current 2.07 K:BB ratio places him 80th among 102 qualified SP’s. As a Moore owner in a H2H league with K:BB as a category, he hurts me there a heck of a lot more than he helps. There’s also virtually no direct correlation between K:BB ratio and ERA.

    Moore does post a good K rate. His BB rate though makes him tough to keep trotting out there for WHIP and K:BB purposes. I’d gladly trade him to you in my non-keeper league if I could.

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  16. GoHabsGo says:

    Eno!!! I know you’re a Met fan but not sure if you live in NY, but I watched the Rays/Yanks game last night on YES [thankfully no Michael Kay] and Moore was getting squeeeeeezed big time!!! Much to my chagrin. Umpires, as a whole, have been pitful this season, but that, coupled with his youth and lack of seniority, has been detrimental to his BB% rate.

    You can probably up-tick his 1st-pitch strike % based on those points alone.

    Just venting – thanks!

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