Ty Moore Shows How Much Progress Can Be Made in One Season

Ty Moore ended the 2016 season back in Morgantown, where he made his debut the previous season after the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the 12th round of the amateur draft. He finished his 2017 season as one of the top hitters on the Bradenton Marauders. In doing so, he proved that a lot of progress can happen during one season in the minors.

Moore went to UCLA, where he was teammates with Kevin Kramer, who was selected by the Pirates in the second round in 2015. While Kramer hit .323 and put up an .899 OPS, it was Moore who led the team in both categories in 2015, batting .342, while posting a .907 OPS.

They both went to Morgantown after the draft to begin their pro career. Moore put together some solid numbers thanks to a fast start that saw him reach base safely in 31 of his first 32 games. He earned a New York-Penn League All-Star selection and things looked to be going well so far during the early part of his career.

The 2016 season started with Moore in West Virginia, where he split his time between the two corner outfield spots. He had a couple of strong games early, then things fell apart. After going 0-for-3 on May 18th, he had a .195/.256/.260 slash line. He was sent back to Extended Spring Training in Bradenton to get his swing back. His next game would come one month later with Morgantown.

Moore was an All-Star during the previous season in the NYPL, then one year later he was the starting left fielder on Opening Day in the same league. For a player who had success at a major college, that was clearly not where he wanted to be at that point in his pro career. It was at that time that things really changed for Moore. He again put up solid stats for the Black Bears, then used his demotion as motivation for the 2016-17 off-season.

“It started the minute I was demoted to Morgantown,” Moore said of his motivation. “I told myself that I was going to get back with my draft class the following season and failure wasn’t an option. I cut back on the weights in the off-season and ran every day, and I hit and hit and hit and hit and then hit some more.”

That off-season plan seemed to work for him. He looked strong at the plate during Spring Training this year, but when the time came for players to be assigned to their teams, Moore wasn’t on a full-season roster. He got caught up in the numbers game, with players ahead of him who the Pirates wanted to see in West Virginia. It was demoralizing to say the least.

“I was told at the end of camp that there were other players that were getting the opportunity to break with a full season club,” Moore said. “I was not happy. I was told that I had an impressive Spring Training but this is just how it was. I was angry, sad, jealous, you name it. I called my agent, my dad, my girlfriend, I wasn’t sure what I should do moving forward.”

All he could do at that point was compete in Extended Spring Training and hope for the best. His mindset quickly changed from what went wrong to just controlling what he could control. It also helped that he had someone to talk to about his situation.

“I got a phone call from an old friend and he lit a fire under me and got me motivated,” he said. “Next thing you know, a spot opens up and I never looked back.”

That spot opening up was a hamstring injury to Victor Fernandez during the first week of the season. Moore took his place for the sixth game of the season and was quickly out to prove everyone wrong. He had two hits and two walks in his first game. That was followed by two hits in his next game, a double in game three, then a single, double and a home run in his fourth game. By the end of April, he had put together a .377/.429/.532 slash line.

The only reason Moore wasn’t the Pirates Prospect Player of the Month for April was because his UCLA teammate was on a ridiculous run with Altoona. Kevin Kramer was the only player who out-hit Moore during that first month. That’s quite impressive for someone who was in Extended Spring Training until April 10th, but for Moore, it was just the start of proving people wrong this season.

In early June, Moore was one of three West Virginia Power players selected for the South Atlantic League All-Star game. He ended up being named as the Defensive Player of the Game. Just being selected for the game was important to him because it helped get him some more notice.

“The All-Star selection was a goal of mine,” Moore said. “I felt I needed to build a resume that the front office could look at and say this guy is making his second All-Star team, he can play let’s see what he can do at the next level.”

It didn’t take long for that to happen. The All-Star game was played on June 20th and eight days later Moore was back in Bradenton, except this time it wasn’t Extended Spring Training, it was with the Marauders. He quickly made his presence known, homering during his first game.

“I hit my first home run in my first game and rounding third I high-fived Alvy [manager Gerardo Alvarez] an said ‘I told you I’d be here.’ ”

That was followed quickly by an even bigger day. Moore hit a three-run homer in his second game and also had a walk and an RBI single. He would collect hits in each of his first eight games. He went from trying to prove people wrong during the first half of the season, to showing that he belonged during the second half.

“Once I was in Bradenton I wasn’t playing with anger anymore,” Moore said. “I was playing with swagger. I was where I said I’d be and I was gonna let people know I’m here.”

That’s just what he did, hitting .289/.357/.421 in 52 games with Bradenton. While he didn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify for league leaders, that .778 OPS would have placed him fifth best in the league. Perhaps most impressive is that he did better during the month of August, which is brutal in the Florida State League. Many players wear down during that last month of the season due to the weather and the toll a full season takes on the body and mind, but Moore posted an .812 OPS. He credits his hitting coach, Keoni De Renne.

“In the first week of August we had a game against the Florida Fire Frogs and we lost badly,” Moore said. “Keoni talked with us after the game and said having a good season is one thing, but people look at how you finish not how your start and that hit home.”

So now after a strong finish to his season, Moore is in a completely different spot than he was going into 2017. He’s not the player who was demoted during the season this off-season, he’s a player who was promoted during the year and put up strong stats in a very pitcher-friendly league. It showed him that he could use adversity as motivation to get where he thought he belonged, then confidence set in to go out and prove that he could compete at that level. He’s not going to let himself get too comfortable though, because the sting of being demoted last year and being left back in Extended Spring Training this year are still both fresh in his mind.

“I’m basically doing the same thing as last off-season with a few things added,” Moore said about his off-season, before talking about his goals for 2018. “I just want to keep competing and to progress forward to another level. Ideally I’d like to be in Altoona but players don’t decided on roster spots. Hard work will get me to where I want to be.”

I wouldn’t guarantee that he gets a spot in the Altoona outfield to start the 2018 season, but at this point, I wouldn’t bet against him earning that spot either.

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andrew.oneill88

Great story! This guy’s got the heart of a champion!

rich

Hill, Krause, and Moore would be the obvious choices to start in AA but none can play CF. Hughston could be pushed up but he certainly doesn’t appear to be ready.

Also, they could use Hughston in A+ as nobody else is really ready to play there – except maybe Madris if he can handle skipping over A

rich

I’m always on the fence if the best way to eliminate holes in swings is to:
– challenge the hitter and prove to them that they have to work on something
– keep them in an environment where the6 can continue to work on something without completely failing

BuccosFanStuckinMD

I agree on Hughston – I’ve been intrigued by his obvious physical gifts and athleticism. He did show great improvement with the bat in 2017, he still is very streaky and strikes out too much. If he can cut down on the Ks and improve his OBP, he will be the best prospect in his draft class as far as position players are concerned. He has a VERY high ceiling.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

I like Moore – I think he has possibilities as a 4th OF/PH type. But, given his age, he will need to start strong in 2018 and get to AA sooner than later. Maybe they will start him in AA in 2018, if he gets off to a good start in Spring Training…..

leefoo

Is his ceiling a 4th OFer (or starter/placeholder on a second division team)?

piraddict

What does he lack that he was a low draft pick initially?

piraddict

Thanks John! Does he have the potential to increase power? Looking at bat speed and swing plane primarily I guess.

Arik Florimonte

7 in the minors is probably 20 in the majors nowadays.

Chris C

Great article! He is definitely someone who was under the radar for me.

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