Let’s fast forward to July 31, 2015, shall we?
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The Detroit Tigers are in the middle of a three-team race for the AL Central crown with the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox. The trio, along with occasional surges by the Cleveland Indians, have been meandering in and out of first place all season long. The wild-card is a tricky proposition as well. In addition to the AL Central teams, the Angels, Mariners, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Orioles, and Yankees are all pushing hard for the postseason.
The Texas Rangers have had another terrible year and are on pace for 100 losses. They are desperate to rebuild and cast a wide net, making Yu Darvish available to the highest bidder. They have interest in Steven Moya. If the trade happens, it will allow one of the starters–Shane Greene or Alfredo Simon–to go to the bullpen and improve the unit for the stretch run and postseason.
If you are “Trader Dave” Dombrowski, do you make that deal? Do you MAKE that deal?
Of course the above scenario is completely made up, but there will likely come a time this season, especially nearing the trading deadline, that Moya’s name will come up when Detroit is looking for its annual late season pick-me-up.
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Consider it the curse of being the #1 prospect in the Detroit Tiger organization. Devon Travis was bestowed that honor by Baseball America back in November and mere hours later, he was dealt to the Blue Jays for Anthony Gose. Now previously second-ranked Moya takes his place at the top of the Tigers’ heap.
The top Tigers’ prospect is like the lone survivor of a lame 1980’s horror movie who becomes the first one thrown into a wood chipper in the sequel.
Moya had an outstanding year at the AA level last year, earning multiple MVP honors (league and All-Star Game) and an appearance in the MLB All-Star Futures Game. He is slated to play in Toledo this season and will be molded to curb the strikeouts against higher-level pitching and hit more consistency against righties.
In addition to his potential, I cannot see the Tigers parting with Moya because the list of their Top 10 Prospects from 2014 has been decimated. Let’s take a look.
Baseball America’s 2014 Top 10 Prospects–Detroit Tigers
- Nick Castellanos (Tigers’ starting 3B)
- Devon Travis (traded to Toronto)
- Bruce Rondon (missed all of 2014)
- Robbie Ray (traded to Arizona)
- Jake Thompson (traded to Texas)
- Jonathon Crawford (traded to Cincinnati)
- Corey Knebel (traded to Texas)
- Eugenio Suarez (traded to Cincinnati)
- Domingo Leyba (traded to Arizona)
- Hernan Perez (likely headed to Toledo)
Remarkably, Baseball America didn’t foresee Moya’s meteoric rise a season ago and he was not included on their list. So take it for what you will, however just three of last year’s 10 Ten Prospects are still with the Tigers. Also not on this list was 19-year old shortstop Willy Adames, who was dealt to Tampa Bay along with Drew Smyly and Austin Jackson (to Seattle) for David Price last trading deadline. Many insiders believe Adames, a shortstop, has tremendous upside and was a coup for the Rays.
For all of these reasons, I believe that Steven Moya is safe from being traded. Maybe if he falters big time on the next level it could be possible. After all, pitching at the AAA-level is much more like that of MLB than AA.
The plan during the 2010’s has been for the Tigers to win it all. But at the same time, the organization has to be abundantly clear that when that window closes, you had better have some chips in place to compete into the future (think Phillies and Yankees who failed to prepare past their aging championship core).
The Tigers may actually be stronger for the future than you think. Many of their current players like Castellanos, Jose Iglesias, and J.D. Martinez are still young and they have a decent crop of outfield prospects on the horizon.
Only time will tell, and ranking prospects is akin to the college football preseason rankings–really means nothing until they actually get on the field, on the highest level.
If you are a Tigers’ fan, you want Moya on your team in 2016. So let’s hope he survives the “wood chipper.”