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Mike Moustakas was once a highly touted prospect and big things were expected from him. He had his best season in 2015 and I expected him to breakout last year. Unfortunately, that's not quite what happened. Moustakas played 27 games before he collided with teammate Alex Gordon attempting to catch a fly ball. The collision resulted in a torn ACL, causing Moustakas to miss the rest of the season. Usually when a player comes off an injury, there's a discount the following season and that's happening with the Royals third baseman.
In many drafts, you can get Moustakas as the 20th third basemen off the board. It's not quite apparent in all the surface stats, but Moustakas is improving every season. In five straight years, his contact rate has improved. The strikeout rates, walk rates and hard hit rates all get better each season.
Although he he hit 20 home runs in his first full season, it came with a .242 average, .296 on-base percentage and a .708 OPS. It didn't get better the next two seasons. We finally saw a good season from Moustakas in 2015. He batted .284 with 73 runs, 22 home runs, 82 RBIs, a .348 on-base percentage and an .817 OPS.
Moustakas made better contact each season and had a 12.4 percent strikeout rate in 2015. He also continued to hit the ball harder at a significant rate, something that began in 2014. It was a small sample in 2016 of 104 at-bats, but a lot of things were trending up for Moustakas before the injury. He had an 11.5 percent strikeout rate and boosted his walk rate one percent to eight percent. He batted .240 with 12 runs, seven home runs, and 13 RBIs. The average was low due to a BABIP of .214. He has a career BABIP of .266 and part of it is because he had a career 43.6 percent fly ball rate. Moustakas did hit the ball hard again with a career best 37.4 percent hard hit rate. He was on pace for a career-high in home runs and like he did in 2015, he continued to hit the ball to the opposite field more often, which is a very good skill to have in Major League Baseball.
Every time I look at my third base rankings, I cringe because I want to move players up, but there is no one to move down. There's a lot of depth there and unfortunately we are going to miss out on some of them and watch them perform on other owners' rosters.
There are several ways to attack third base this year. If you fall into the right draft position, you can get one of the elite options that go in the first round. If it works out that you wait on third base, no need to panic. Moustakas is a player you can get later in the draft and he's going to be provide solid value. If he's your starting third baseman in a mixed league, you'll be fine.