In another organization, Matt Moore would likely already have arrived in the majors. The 22-year-old was dominant right from the start in Double-A this year, going 8-3 with a 2.2o ERA and a 131/28 K/BB ratio in 102 1/3 innings.
The Rays, though, are probably more cautious with their pitching prospects than any club in baseball. And it’s worked for them. They could have called on Moore when Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis went down, but they kept him in Double-A and only recently promoted him to Triple-A Durham.
Moore, meanwhile, has gone about his business without complaint. He struck out 10 and walked none in another win for Durham on Sunday. In four starts in the International League, he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA and a 39/5 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings.
The Rays again have an opening for Moore with Alex Cobb landing on the disabled list over the weekend due to numbness in his pitching hand. Still, Cobb was the sixth man in a six-man rotation, and the Rays were looking to return to five starters anyway. Besides, especially now that they’re 10 games back in the wild card, they may decide against giving Moore a look this year.
That’d be a shame, because the left-hander is probably the best pitching prospect in the minors at the moment and it’d be fun to see what he could do against AL East competition. He’ll get his opportunity next season, but perhaps not in April or May. Even discounting the financial incentives for holding prospects back. the Rays believe in taking their time with young pitchers. Of course, they can only hold him back so long. By 2013, David Price and Moore could form one of the game’s best one-two punches in the game.