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Entries in Matt Moore (7)


Face off: Clay Buchholz vs. Matt Moore

There are two starters who have begun the season going 5-0: Matt Moore and Clay Buchholz. Hopefully at some point this season these two stars will face off against each, but until then, we can only imagine it through stats.

Here are the AL starters who have made five starts this season

This chart looks at ERA and WHIP

As you mouse over the icons, you realize you want to be in the lower left quadrant. Here you are in the company of Hisashi Iwakumi, Yu Darvish, Felix Hernandez, Anibal Sanchez, Ervin Sanchez, and Buchholz and Moore.

The upper right is ugly territory. This is where Philip Humber, Joe Blanton, Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker are residing.

Let's look at BAA and Slugging

Once again, the best are in the lower left corner occupied by Moore and Darvish. The next group includes Buchholz, Sanchez, Jon Lester and Hiroki Kuroda.

On the dark side, you find Joe Blanton, Parker, Humber, Joe Saunders, Mark Buehrle and the like.

Starters with runners on base

This is my look at when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Again, look at the lower left and you find that not only has Clay Buchholz held the opposition to a .103 average with runners on, but a .143 average with runners in scoring position.

Not to be outdone, Matt Moore held the opposition to a .122 average with runners on and a .000 average w/RISP.

Ryan Dempster's .130/.148 combo is outstanding as is Wei-Yin Chen's .143/200. Perhaps the league hasn't been paying enough attention to Seattle's Iwakuma (.154/.062) and Jake Peavy (.158/176). But the league is well aware of Humber's .452/.556(!) and Brandon Maurer's .361/.474.

Moore vs. Buchholz - head-to-head

As you can see from the charts above, there are many good starters in the AL and if this has proven anything it simply supports those of you who feel that wins are not the correct way to measure the efficacy of a pitcher.

But, let's finish with our face off between Moore and Buchholz. 

  • Buchholz has thrown 529 pitches and faced 144 batters allowing 25 hits including one homer. He has walked 13 and whiffed 39.
  • Moore has thrown 528 pitches and faced 123 batters allowing 13 hits including three homers. He has walked 15 and whiffed 38.

If I had to choose, in the long run I would take the 23-year old Moore over the 28-year old Buchholz, Moore's upside is far greater. But this season, I would be quite content with either on my staff.


Matt Moore's Not Fooling Lefties

Matt Moore's 2012 season hasn't gone as scripted. Instead of vying for Rookie of the Year honors and pairing with David Price to give the Rays two of the game's most dominant lefty starters, Moore has lasted less than six innings per outing and has an ERA that's 16 percent below average when you account for league and park factors. That's some serious underachievement from a guy possessing mid-to-upper-90s gas who eviscerated minor league competition and shut down the Rangers in the ALDS last fall.

Moore has issued too many walks to batters on both sides of the plate, but he's having serious trouble putting away fellow lefty hitters. He's got a big reverse platoon split in 2012:

Vs. RHB .244 .331 .403 24.1 11.6
Vs. LHB .280 .381 .451 15.3 11.2


Moore's miss rate against right-handed batters is 28.1 percent, the seventh-highest rate among all major league starters and third among left-handers, behind Francisco Liriano and Cole Hamels. Against lefties, however, Moore gets a miss just 15.2 percent of the time. That ranks 82nd out of 96 qualified starters and is dead last among lefties. Think about that: A lefty who can dial it up to 98 can't miss bats against lefties.

Pitch selection appears to be a big reason for Moore's lack of lefty whiffs. He has an effective fastball-changeup combo against right-handers, with both offerings missing lots of lumber. But the changeup, typically used against opposite-handed hitters, disappears against lefties and is replaced by more fastballs and sliders that aren't garnering swings and misses.

Moore's miss rate with the slider against lefties isn't anything special. But his fastball miss rate against same-handed batters is downright paltry. They're not fooled by his heat, thrown three-quarters of the time:

Vs. RHBPct. UsedMiss RateAvg. for LHP vs. RHB
Fastball 67 27 14.1
Changeup 21 36.4 28.8
Slider 12 16.9 27.1
Vs. LHBPct. UsedMiss RateAvg. for LHP vs. LHB
Fastball 75 12.4 17.6
Slider 22 30 35.6
Changeup 3 20 31.8


Moore may be going to his fastball so often because he lacks confidence in his breaking ball, described by Baseball America this past winter as a plus-plus pitch and the best in Tampa's system. Moore has left his slider over the fat part of the plate far too often, throwing 32 percent of them to the middle of the plate. The league average, by contrast, is 22 percent:

Moore's slider location in 2012

Moore's poor command of the slider hasn't buried him against righties, as he rarely uses the breaking ball against them and attacks them with his fastball and changeup. But the ineffective slider leaves Moore with little more than his fastball against lefties. And even if you've got 98 MPH heat in your back pocket, hitters can connect if they know it's coming.


Can Texas Stand the heat vs. Matt Moore?

The Tampa Bay Rays will give the ball to rookie Matt Moore against the Rangers' prolific offense tonight. The 22-year-old lefty struck out 11 hitters in his first MLB start against the Yankees on September 22, featuring a David Price-esque fastball that averaged nearly 95 MPH. Are the Rangers ready for Moore's heat?

In general, hitters struggle mightily against high-speed fastballs. They have a .298 Weighted On-Base average (wOBA) against fastballs thrown at 95 mph or higher over the past three seasons, compared to a .349 wOBA versus fastballs thrown under 95 mph. Several of Texas' heavy hitters have fared worse than most when a pitcher lights up the gun:

wOBA of Rangers hitters vs. fastballs thrown 95+ MPH since 2009 (including with other teams)

Nelson Cruz: .264

Ian Kinsler: .270

Adrian Beltre: .277

Josh Hamilton: .288

This quartet has absolutely killed fastballs thrown under 95 mph, with each posting a wOBA of at least .425, but high-velocity heat has been an issue. Michael Young (.333 wOBA vs. fastballs thrown 95+ mph) and Mike Napoli (.324) have hit top-shelf velocity pretty well, however.

It's possible that the advantage Moore's velocity provides is blunted by Texas' righty-heavy lineup. But if he relies heavily upon his fastball tonight against the middle of the Rangers' lineup, it might be a smart strategy instead of a rookie mistake.