Mike may have an iron glove, but this isn't fantasy football. We don't lose points for Fumbles.
The Royals top ranked hitting prospect has finally arrived. Kansas City has promoted Mike Moustakas to the big leagues (at the expense of the slumping sleeper Mike Aviles). The questions of, "when will the Royals call up Moustakas?" have now turned into, "what should we expect from Moustakas?". That's where I come in. The professional prognosticator has arrived. The official projection for the power hitting Third Baseman is waiting for you after the break.
Coming into the season Moustakas was the top ranked prospect in the Royals farm system. Even Eric Hosmer was slated behind Moose. The No. 2 overall pick from the 2007 amateur draft displayed big time power potential as he ascended through the minors. At double-A in 2010 Moustakas hit 21 HR in only 65 games, good for a .340 ISO. When promoted to triple-A that season he continued slugging (15 HR in 52 games, .271 ISO). For a power hitter Moustakas doesn't strike out as often as most would expect. His 16% K% in double-A and 11% K% in triple-A of that season was excellent. It's easy to see why many were anticipating his arrival in 2011.
His time at triple-A this season hasn't gone as well as it did in 2010. He's striking out a little more (19.7% K%) and the power is down (10 HR in 55 games, .211 ISO). We should expect similar troubles when he is promoted to the majors. Facing big league pitching and defense does that to freshmen. We should also note that Moustakas has benefited from playing in hitter friendly park in AA/AAA and will be playing in a pitcher friendly (to neutral) park in KC. His Northwest Arkansas team (AA) played at a field that scored a 123 in HR for Left Handed Batters. The Omaha field (AAA) scored a 100 in HR. Kansas City? Kauffman Stadium scores a 74 in HR for LHB [Stat Corner]. It's not Petco Park bad, but it does favor pitchers. The expected regression and change in venues may leave some disappointed in Moustakas' power numbers.
Projection time. MLB Depth Charts has Moustakas batting sixth behind Jeff Francoeur and Billy Butler. I'm not sure the Chris Getz Protection Agency and Moustakas' lack of plate discipline (7.6% BB% in AAA) will lead to many Runs, but there is always the possibility of him pushing his way into a better spot. We are using a 21.6% K%, 12.8% HR/FB% and .302 BABIP here. Official Projection .268 AVG, 50 Runs, 17 HR, 56 RBI, 2 SB (385 AB)
Yeah I like Mous a lot more than Rizzo simply b/c he's a 3B. But I'm not expecting Ryan Braun's rookie season all over again or nothing. Still, shouldn't be hard for him to be a top 3B rest of the way and upside is there for much more.
The projection is pretty close to what Alvarez did when he was called up. There is a slight difference in how they got their batting averages, Pedro had a high BABIP and Moustakas made contact more often. I have Moustakas knocking in a few less RBI, I think Pedro overachieved a bit there in 2010. Pedro was on pace for 109 RBI over 162 games. That's extremely hard to do without a good AVG.
Paul! Nice to see ya brother. Third Base has become an ugly scene huh? If we drafted today I'd still take the usual suspects (Bautista, ARod, Longo, Youk, Zimmer, Beltre) ahead of him. Wright... I don't know what to think of him and his back. I'd just avoid him completely. I'd probably still take ARam ahead of Mous too. I'm not buying the power outage. Michael Young, maybe him too. Gordon, Prado, Walker deserve consideration.
Moustakas definitely has Top 10 3B potential, especially when people were drafting Pedro Alvarez and his 33% K% as a starter.