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Detroit Tigers 2016 Review: Steven Moya

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Jul 7, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) returns to the dugout in the third inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) returns to the dugout in the third inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /
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This could be the last time that Motor City Bengals covers any news regarding Detroit Tigers prospect Steven Moya.

The oversized Detroit Tigers right-fielder will be out of options – literally- if the Tigers do not decide to add him to the 25-man roster for 2017.

Moya may have sealed his own doom with the Tigers with his 2016 performance. But with the rumors that J.D. Martinez (and the rest of the team) is up for sale, there is a chance that the low-priced Moya could be a Tiger for slightly longer than expected.

When it comes to numbers, Moya has very little to brag about, especially the numbers that count. His on-base percentage was .290 – which according to Fangraphs is “Awful.” In his 94 at-bats, he struck out 38 times. He walked only five times. Moya finished the 2016 season with a WAR of -0.4. Moya has yet to achieve a positive WAR in his Detroit call-ups.

Jun 22, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) celebrates his home run against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 22, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) celebrates his home run against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Hitting for Power

The one positive number that Moya did achieve in 2016 was his slugging percentage, which was an even and impressive .500. Even though Moya did get only 24 hits, 11 of them were for extra bases. Clearly, he is a man who can hit for power, but he just can’t do it consistently enough.

Steven Moya played two positions with the Tigers in 2016: Right field and left field. He played 18 games in right field and 8 in left. Sabermetrically, he performed like two completely different players in the different fields. In left field,  his total zone fielding runs above average per game was 1. In right field, was -5. Both numbers are less than special, but the -5 is disconcerting. This means that he (on average) costs the team five runs per game based on his performance. Considering that he is an outfielder, who usually plays right field, this number is troubling.

Moya is Redundant

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Honestly, Moya is a redundant player. The Tigers already have enough players who can hit for power and strike out too much (Justin Upton, Miguel Cabrera, etc.). And, those players are better defensively and offensively than Moya. Because of this, his future with the team is questionable. For this fan, that’s ok.

Moya’s defining moment of the season was on July 15 in a game against the Kansas City Royals. Up until this game, Moya called up to sub for J.D. Martinez, who was out recovering from his injured elbow. After this game, Moya was sent back down to Triple-A Toledo. Moya’s trouble came when he tried to field a ball hit by Salvador Perez. He missed the catch and Perez earned a double. This wasn’t the first time that Moya made a mistake in right field, but this mistake cost the Tigers a lead. Fortunately, the Tigers did come back in later innings to win the game 4-2 against the AL Central rivals.

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While Moya’s defensive misplay was sad to watch, his next at-bat was even more unfortunate. He went 0-3 that day and his at-bat after the misplay was a weak groundball to third. It was quite clear that the misplay had gotten into his head. This is certainly something that the Tigers do not need – a player who cannot move past the last play. Despite the large frame and powerful bat, at 26 years of age, Steven Moya may have seen his last days in the Old English D. And this fan is ok with that.

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