Tigers Prospect Profile #6: Steven Moya

From time to time, you run into a baseball player that is an imposing figure, even when not in cleats or standing on the mound. Steven Moya fits that profile as a huge human being with incredible power. Can Moya find growth in the rest of his game to make the massive power potential come to life?

Steven Moya
Position: Outfielder
Height: 6-7
Weight: 235
Born: 8/9/1991
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2008
Ranking History: #48 (2009), #71 (2010), #25 (2011)

Background
A native of Puerto Rico, Moya moved to the Dominican Republic during his youth and was signed by the Tigers for a low six-figure signing bonus in 2008. As is customary with many J2 signings, Moya made his debut the following summer as a 17-year old.

In 60 Dominican Summer League games, Moya hit .252/.361/.372 with eight doubles, six home runs and 33 RBI. His season was so impressive that the Tigers pushed him to the United States for the 2010 season. He struggled with the adjustment to the GCL, hitting just .190 with nine extra-base hits in 40 games.

Moya started the 2011 season in extended spring training before injures at West Michigan forced the Tigers hand. Still just 19-years old, Moya was thrust into the everyday grind of full-season ball and hit just .204 in 86 games. He did however pop 13 home runs and ten doubles over that span, while striking out 127 times.

The Tigers returned Moya to the Midwest League for the 2012 season and he improved dramatically in every phase of the game. A better defender and baserunner, Moya bumped his average to .288 and slugged 14 doubles and nine home runs in just 59 games before losing the rest of his season to injury.

Scouting Report
Moya stands out the second he gets off the bus; owning a big-league frame since the day he was signed. Standing 6-foot-7 and toeing the scale at 235 pounds, Moya is a physical specimen who has only improved his already impressive body as a part of rehab from Tommy John surgery.

Moya's strength translates to massive raw power on the field. With top of the scale (80 grade) raw, Moya can put on impressive batting practice displays, launching balls out of the park to all fields. The game utility of his power has improved over the last three years and he now finds the barrel more consistently.

Even with such improvements, Moya's hitting projection remains an open question. Moya has good bat speed but he generates his power with a long, strength-driven swing that some scouts feel can be tied up by good velocity. His swing mechanics are consistent and he shows some feel for handling secondary stuff, but his overall hitting approach is extremely raw. Most scouts project Moya to hit in the .250 range with plenty of strikeouts. That type of batting average will not allow Moya's power to play at a maximum level, but it should allow him to crank at least 20-25 home runs a year.

Given his size, Moya is a solid athlete with surprising coordination. He is a below-average runner but he moves well enough to handle either corner outfield spot. He has long strides, gets decent jumps and his routes are solid, allowing him to make most plays necessary in the outfield. Prior to arm surgery, his arm was a legitimate plus tool.

Moya's impressive scouting report is accented by accounts of tremendous makeup. Moya is an exceptionally hard worker that wants nothing more than to succeed in the game.

All of Moya's long term hopes hinge on his hitting ability. If he hits .250, even with a bunch of strikeouts and few walks, then he probably has enough power utility for a big-league career. With that type of production he won't be a star but could a contributing player on an outfield corner. With caution thrown to the wind and a better belief in Moya's hit utility, some scouts can squint and see an impact slugger.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

A

West Michigan

243

.288

14

9

47

59

11

.319

.481


Health Record
Moya went under the knife for Tommy John surgery on his right arm last summer. His rehab went exceedingly well and he was back throwing and playing the outfield this spring. The Tigers are likely to be somewhat cautious with his arm this year, probably allowing him to DH frequently as he continues his long-term recovery.

Projection
Starting the season in High-A Lakeland after a promotion, Moya's hitting ability will be tested in the Florida State League. He still employs a raw approach that must be developed to allow him to find hitter's counts where he can unleash his prodigious power. It is easy to dream on Moya's 80-grade raw power, but the reality is that his hitting projection comes up a little short. Moya should entice scouts with otherworldly batting practice displays while hitting for a modest average and plus to plus-plus game power down the line.

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