Steven Moya is working his hardest to earn a spot on the Detroit Tigers roster. The left-handed hitting right fielder hit two home runs in the first five innings of the game against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
Last year, Moya had difficulty hitting with a combined slash of .243/.283/.431/ with Triple-A Toledo and with Single-A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers. When he was called up to the Tigers in September, he batted a slash of .182/.280/.273. His OPS in the minor leagues in 2015 was .714, but was only .553 in the majors.
Whatever happened to Steven Moya’s bat appears to have been remedied.
Since his call-up to fill in for the injured J.D. Martinez, he had a slash of .286/.300/.490 with an OPS of .790 prior to the game against the Mariners. Of course, his line will improve dramatically with the three hits he had against Hisashi Iwakuma.
While two big home runs in one game are certainly special to watch, it was his swing that was a thing of beauty. His smooth and powerful swing was reminiscent of Miguel Cabrera’s easy, smooth swing.
Even his work in right field was impressive. After watching him play a few games in left field, it is obvious that he is at home in right field. He takes the right routes and makes the plays, even when he has to run into foul territory to make a play.
Of course, J.D. Martinez will have his spot back in right field when he returns from the disabled list, but Moya’s all-around performance should make it difficult for the brass to send him back down to the minor leagues. Moya is clearly playing like he wants to be on the team for the long-term.
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As an affordable young rookie, Steven Moya could have a spot on the team, if Al Avila made the right move. There is a glaringly obvious lack of an outfielder bench player. With Mike Aviles and Andrew Romine both better as infield replacements, it would make sense to keep one of these men and demote the other. Even though Aviles has had a few big hits in the last few games, Romine has been a more reliable bench player and he has proven it over the years.
The Tigers could keep Moya, Aviles, and Romine if they really wanted to do so. If Avila and Brad Ausmus could make some decisions about the bullpen and get the number of arms down to a manageable number of reliable arms and ditch the useless ones (like Mark Lowe), there would be a spot for two infield bench players and for Moya. Even after he returns from the DL, Martinez might not be ready for everyday play, so Moya could be a necessary platoon partner with JD for the short term.
Hopefully, the Tigers will do the right thing and keep the kid – especially if he keeps performing positively.