Assorted Thoughts On Matt Moore's Debut

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 14: Pitcher Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws to a Baltimore Orioles batter during the eighth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 14, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles defeated the Rays 6-2. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Plenty has already been said about Matt Moore's debut last night, but I wanted to chime in with a few quick observations. These may or may not be original, but they're worth stating for posterity's sake.

1. He has such an easy windup. When he came into the game, his first pitch looked like he was just playing catch with Jaso...until I realized the radar pegged the ball at around 96 MPH. Very smooth, very energy-efficient and low stress motion.

2. He's a calm and collected young man. If you've watched him in any of his interviews over the last few days, he comes across as very articulate, mature, and thoughtful. And on the mound, he seemed very unperturbed by the fact that he was pitching in the majors....nonetheless that he made his debut as a reliever, pitching from the stretch with a runner on and his team down by two runs. It was a new experience for him -- every part of it -- yet his body language was relaxed and he just seemed to be going about his business.

3. Moore hit 98 MPH last night on the gun and averaged 95.6 MPH. Of course, he was pitching in relief and didn't have to conserve himself like he would as a starter, but it's also tough to tell if Moore was going "all out" last night. I think the assumption is he'll sit in the mid-90s as a starter (more like 94 MPH), but at the same time, he obviously has the arm strength to crank it up whenever needed.

4. Almost more impressive than his velocity, though, was the movement he got on his pitches. On his four-seam fastball, Moore averaged 10 inches of horizontal break and 9 inches of vertical break, and some pitches broke closer to 15 inches than 10.

For comparison, Jeremy Guthrie averaged 5 inches of horizontal break and 7 inches of vertical with his fastball last night, and David Price normally averages around 8 inches of both. Sure, maybe Baltimore's Pitch F/x ratings are a bit generous, but my eyes backed up the data: Moore's pitches danced out there.

5. Along those lines, his changeup is much better than I expected. His arm action looked the same as his fastball, but then the pitch turned out to be around 10 MPH slower and still have sick break to it. He seemed to miss with his curveball/slider (whatever you want to call it) the few times he tried to throw it, but that's excusable considering the oddness of the situation for him. I still wish Maddon hadn't brought him in during the middle of an inning...what was up with that?

The homerun to Wieters be damned, there were still plenty of positive things from Moore's performance last night. He looks like a stud, and I'm still crazy excited for him to start his first game. He's an advanced, polished pitcher for his age, and at least from what I can see, it'd be a crime for the Rays to send him down to the minors to begin next season. What could he possibly have to work on at this point?

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