A year later, he began what would become a full-time experiment at the hot corner, struggling both in the field with the glove and at the plate with the bat in his final two seasons with the Tigers' system before the trade that brought him over to the Cubs this past February. Moore was traded along with OF Bo Flowers and RHP Roberto Novoa for flaky reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
From the onset, the trade appears to be a blessing in disguise for the 21-year-old Cypress, Calif., high school product—at least offensively. In 128 games with the Cubs' Advanced-A affiliate this past season, Moore hit a career-best .282. His 53 extra base hits were third best in the league, and his 31 doubles were good enough for second best.
Is Moore finally on the right track? Perhaps, but there is still some concern within the organization and, of course, always some things the left-handed hitting 2005 Florida State League All-Star could improve on. And it all starts with defense, as Moore committed a league-high 30 errors with a fielding percentage of only .904 this past season.
There is a slight "Catch 22" to those errors, as Moore notes.
"I don't think there's any concern with my fielding really," said Moore. "Most of my errors were throwing errors, so there weren't a lot of fielding errors. It's all about making sure I get my feet in good position to throw. I've been doing a lot of stuff defensively at third base. Jeff Huson, our roving infield instructor, is working with me on staying low when I throw."
Moore has also been getting in a good workout at another infield position this October—second base.
"I've been taking some groundballs at second, just getting some good work in," Moore said. "I'm not really sure if they plan to use me more there. I think it's more about being able to play different positions. As far as I know, they want to keep me at third."
And that's all well and good with Moore, who has already had to battle through a position change once in his minor league career.
"The transition from short to third, it was a totally different position," Moore said. "You wouldn't think it was that much different, but there was more reaction involved. This year, I've learned a lot at third and am continuing to learn a lot here in Instructs."
As for his offense, while the 2005 season was a significant turnaround for Moore in both batting average and on-base percentage (.358), there was one statistic he wanted to see decrease rather than increase—his strikeouts.
Moore fanned 134 times at Daytona, marking the third straight season that he'd struck out over 100 times. Nonetheless, there is reason to be excited about Moore's future after his first All-Star nod.
"I think I mostly had quality at-bats this year," Moore said. "I wasn't throwing away as many at-bats and was going up there battling. That was definitely the biggest thing for me. Throughout the year I threw some at-bats away, but a lot less than years before. In the second half, things didn't go my way like they did in the first half, but I still tried to battle."
Now that the Instructional League is coming to a close (the last scheduled date is Saturday, Oct. 15), Moore wants to leave Arizona on a high note before diving into his usual offseason regime. He plans on hitting the weight room up until Spring Training once he returns home, while directly related baseball plans won't likely start up for Moore until December.
This is slated to be Moore's first official offseason with the Cubs, as he came to the organization last February before pitchers and catchers reported to Mesa. The process of changing organization's didn't have much of an effect on the former first-round pick.
"I didn't really think about it," Moore said. "I'm hard on myself and I expect a lot out of myself. When I made the switch, I thought of it as a fresh start and a chance to prove myself again."