Matt Moore, the 23-year-old stud pitching prospect who last week finished runner-up to Mike Trout for Baseball America‘s minor league player of the year award, is on his way to Tampa Bay.
With their Wild Card deficit down to 3.5 games the Rays have decided the time is right for Moore to make his big-league debut and the left-hander’s agent told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that he’s expected to fill a bullpen role initially.
Moore projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter and threw 155 innings with a 1.92 ERA, .184 opponents’ batting average, and 210/46 K/BB ratio between Double-A and Triple-A, but the Rays envision him making an immediate impact as a reliever much like David Price did down the stretch (and into the playoffs) in 2008.
Price then, like Moore now, was called up in mid-September after dominating in the minors and made four relief appearances and one start for the Rays, throwing 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA and 12/4 K/BB ratio. And then he made five more appearances as a reliever in the playoffs, finishing all five games while allowing one earned run in 6.2 innings.
With closer Kyle Farnsworth sidelined by an elbow injury manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times: “We’ve got be very open-minded and flexible right now. We can’t have any kind of set parameters. We just can’t.”