Detroit Tigers Player Profile: Steven Moya

Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) works out prior to the game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) works out prior to the game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Steven Moya has been a hot topic of discussion for Detroit Tigers fans over the last couple years.

In early 2014 Steven Moya was a highly touted prospect in the Detroit Tigers farm system and it looked like he would inevitably take a spot in the outfield in a year or so. A combination of bad luck on his part and inconsistency at the minor league level has reduced Moya’s status to a franchise question mark.

Moya first drew attention in 2014. With the departure of Andy Dirks, the door for the third outfield spot was wide open. Despite acquiring Rajai Davis, it was a common assumption that Moya was on his way up to fill the third outfield spot. Despite putting up impressive numbers in the minors, the sudden emergence of JD Martinez delayed any chance of Moya making the big league roster. Moya finished his 2014 minor league season with a .276 batting average and 35 home runs. With Austin Jackson being traded away and Torii Hunter leaving via free agency it looked again like Moya would be on his way up in 2015.

Unfortunately, Moya’s minor league numbers weren’t good enough to warrant a major league call up in 2015 – at least the pre-trade deadline part of 2015. Now with Justin Upton being a lock in left field, J.D. Martinez being a lock in right field, and center field being two players deep, Moya’s options on the big league roster are gradually shrinking.

2016 Role

Moya will more than likely start the season in the minors. At this point there are four big leaguers in the outfield so barring a monstrous spring training by Steven Moya and a bad spring training from Anthony Gose and Cameron Maybin there won’t be any room for Moya. If he can put up decent numbers in the minor leagues he’ll be first in line to replace any of the big league outfielders if they get injured. If the team can’t find any room for him he could also be a good trade piece if he has a good minor league season. 

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Best Case Scenario

The best case scenario for Steven Moya is that he puts up big numbers in the minor leagues and carries it over to the major league level. In 2014 and 2015 he had a tough time adjusting to the major leagues when he got called up so to have either team or trade value he will have to show he has what takes at the major league level. If he can do that the team could be faced with a great dilemma. If Anthony Gose struggles, then Steven Moya could be his replacement since he’s also a left-handed bat. If Anthony Gose does well and doesn’t show signs of stopping, Steven Moya could become good trade bait.

Perhaps the best case scenario of all best case scenarios is that Steven Moya produces, Anthony Gose also produces, and the entire Tigers teams produces, putting them in a playoff run. Then, at the trade deadline Avila trades him for a big name player to keep the playoff run. That may be a little extreme but it’s always nice to think big.

Worst Case Scenario

The worst case scenario for Steven Moya is that he turns in to a failed prospect. After hitting .276 with 35 home runs in the minors in 2014 he dropped to .243 with 23 home runs in 2015, which was discouraging since 2015 was expected to be his breakout year. Moya is slowly exiting the prospect phase since he’ll be in his third full year in the minors and he’s entering his age-24 season, which is getting up there for a prospect.

Next: Player Profile: Ian Kinsler

He is most likely on a short leash because there are four outfielders at the major league level, so a repeat of last year’s numbers could distance him further from a major league call up.