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On Thursday night, after a largely disastrous first season back from Tommy John surgery, Matt Moore had perhaps his finest start as a major leaguer, going seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and no walks, and striking out nine. Moore's future is still very much up in the air, so now seems like an appropriate time to remember the prospect who some rated higher than Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. The following are what Kevin Goldstein wrote about Moore in the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Rays Top Tens.


6. Matt Moore, LHP
DOB: 6/18/89
Height/Weight: 6-2/205
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 8th round, 2007, Moriarty HS (NM)
2008 Stats: 1.66 ERA at Rookie-level (54.1-30-19-77)
Last Year's Ranking: Not Ranked

Year in Review: The biggest surprise in the system dominated the Appy League in '08, and he had scouts wondering how he could have lasted until the eighth round.
The Good: Moore is another Rays power pitcher with a fastball that sits in the low 90s and touched 95-96 mph throughout the year, while his power curve gives him a second plus pitch. He has highly advanced control for his age, and his thick, powerful physique was described by one scout as "built to last."
The Bad: Like many young hurlers, Moore's changeup lags behind his other offerings, and he needs to learn how to mix the pitch into his repertoire. He also needs minor refinements here and there, and he has to learn to work both sides of the plate more effectively.
Fun Fact: In the first two innings of games for Princeton in the Appy League, Moore allowed six hits over 24 frames while striking out 39 and not allowing an earned run.
Perfect World Projection: He'll be an above-average big-league starter.
Glass Half Empty: It's very early in his development, so that's the top end of what is probably a very wide range.
Path To The Big Leagues: It's tough being a young starting pitcher in this organization, but Moore is still so far away that things will almost certainly be different by the time he's ready.
Timetable: Moore will be part of what should be a very impressive rotation at Low-A Bowling Green.


5. Matt Moore, LHP
DOB: 6/18/89
Height/Weight: 6-2/205
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 8th round, 2007, Moriarty HS (NM)
2009 Stats: 3.15 ERA (123.0-86-70-176) at Low-A (26 G)
Last Year's Ranking: 6

Year in Review: The bulky left-hander built on an impressive pro debut in 2008 by leading all of the minors in strikeouts and the circuit in opponent's batting average (.195).
The Good: Moore has two major-league out pitches. He has above-average velocity for a southpaw, sitting a 91-93 mph with his fastball, and he's seemingly incapable of throwing it straight, showing the ability to add both cutting and sinking action to the pitch. His curve is an even more effective offering when Moore throws strikes with it, featuring late, heavy break. He's shown some feel for a changeup that clearly improved from his pro debut.
The Bad: While he made strides throughout the year, Moore's command and control remains sketchy, and there are games where he's over-reliant on his fastball, as it's the only pitch he can throw for strikes. His delivery takes a lot of effort and could use some smoothing out. His wide frame borders on soft, creating some with long-term concerns about his conditioning.
Ephemera: Moore had more strikeouts than innings pitched in 24 of 26 starts last year.
Perfect World Projection: With his upside, he could be an All-Star left-handed starter.
Path to the Big Leagues: There's a bit of a gap between the Davis/Hellickson duo and the next wave of young pitchers in the system, so Tampa Bay has time to figure it out.
Timetable: Moore will begin 2010 at High-A, and he should have little trouble continuing to put up big numbers in the Florida State League.


2. Matt Moore, LHP
: 6/18/89
Height/Weight: 6-2/205
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: Eighth round, 2007, Moriarty HS (NM)
2010 Stats: 3.36 ERA (144.2-109-61-208) at High-A (26 G)
Best/Worst Tool: Fastball/control

Year in Review: A power lefty who has led the minors in strikeouts over each of the last two seasons, Moore was the most dominating pitcher in baseball during the second half of the year, striking out 130 men in just over 84 innings in his last 14 starts of the year.
The Good: When Moore is throwing strikes, he's nothing short of unhittable. He sits at 93-95 mph with a fastball that features natural lefty movement, and he complements the pitch with a plus power curveball with heavy late break. His changeup, once a below-average pitch, has been refined to a point where it projects at least as big-league average. His thick, wide-shouldered, power pitcher's frame is built to eat up innings, and he maintains his stuff deep into games.
The Bad: Moore's delivery is multi-parted and complex, and he has trouble repeating it at times, leading to occasional command and control issues. His changeup could still use improvement, but more in terms of consistency than development.
Ephemera: Moore had more strikeouts than innings pitched in 21 of his 26 starts in 2010, including seven games where he reached double digits while going less than seven innings.
Perfect World Projection: Moore has easy front-end potential in a major-league rotation.
Fantasy Impact: He'll provide tons of strikeouts, but a tendency towards walks could hurt his WHIP.
Path to the Big Leagues: Moore will get his first taste of the upper levels by beginning the year at Double-A Montgomery. He could be ready for a big-league look within the year.
ETA: 2012


1. Matt Moore, LHP
: 6/18/89
Height/Weight: 6’2/205
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: Eighth round, 2007, Moriarty HS (NM)
2011 Stats: 2.20 ERA (102.1-68-28-131) at AA (18 G), 1.37 ERA (52.2-33-18-79) at AAA (9 G), 2.89 ERA (9.1-9-3-15) at MLB (3 G)
Tools Profile: Everything one looks for in an elite-level pitching prospect.

Year in Review: Among the best pitching prospects in the game entering the year, Moore somehow got significantly better.
The Good: Moore has the arsenal of a true ace pitcher. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, can touch 99 mph, and comes from a free and simple mechanic that is so easy it looks like he's playing catch. He's improved his control considerably and gets ahead in the count to set up one of two plus power breaking balls and a well above-average changeup with plenty of late, downward break.
The Bad: It's hard to find weaknesses in Moore. He can get sometimes caught between his low 80s curve and upper 80s slider with a slurvy pitch that isn't as effective. His control is good, but his command could use some sharpening.
Ephemera: Triple-A batters facing Moore with runners on and two outs in 2011 went 0-for-27 with 11 strikeouts.
Perfect World Projection: Ace-level starter and Cy Young candidate.
Fantasy Impact: Moore has monstrous potential and could end up the first pitcher taken in future drafts.
Path to the Big Leagues: While already locked into an extended deal by the Rays, Moore has no guarantee of a spot in the Opening Day rotation. He certainly deserves one, though, and should spend most, if not all of the season in the majors.
ETA: 2012

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