Moya, Fields, Ray Off to Hot Start in Arizona

Just over a week into the Arizona Fall League, and Steven Moya and Daniel Fields have both had impressive starts at the plate for the Glendale Desert Dogs. Meanwhile, left-hander Robbie Ray has also looked good in his first two starts.

It’s only been eight games, but Steven Moya is picking up right where he left off when the minor league season ended. Moya is hitting .303 with four extra base hits, and leads Glendale (managed by his manager at Erie, Lance Parrish) in total bases along with runs driven in. Moya also has put his speed to good use, with four stolen bases while yet to be caught.

What might be slightly more encouraging is an indication of a bit more patience at the plate. He’s struck out nine times in 33 at-bats, but has also walked three times. That walk rate (8.3%) is about double what his walk rate has been historically. Obviously, the sample size is small this early in the fall league, but a step in the right direction.

Many Tigers fans are talking about the possibility of Moya making the club in 2015, but the club’s biggest need might be at center field, and Daniel Fields is getting in extra work in center, and hitting leadoff, for Glendale. So far, he’s off to a torrid start in five games of action. He’s hitting .294, but is showing very good patience as well, having worked four walks against six strikeouts. That’s good for a .500 on-base percentage, and he’s also stolen three bases and belted a home run.

General manager Dave Dombrowski will likely look to address center field this off-season, but if they don’t make a big signing or acquisition, Fields could enter the spring once again with the opportunity to compete for a role in Detroit.

With the decision to have Robbie Ray shelve his curveball and focus on throwing a slider at midseason, and possibly having a spot in the rotation open next spring, Ray needs all the work he can get right now. And the results so far in his two starts have been good, though he’s been limited in how much he’s pitched, only accumulating five innings of work. Ray hasn’t allowed a run and has yielded just two hits, while walking a pair and striking out seven, including striking out five over three innings in his last start on October 16.

Elsewhere on the club, second baseman Domingo Leyba has gotten off to a slow start, with just two singles in 13 at-bats over four games. On the mound, lefty Joe Mantiply has a 1.93 ERA in 4 1/3 innings of work, spanning four appearances. He’s also struck out five and walked one. Finally, Zac Reininger has struggled a bit out of the gate, with a 9.00 ERA, including giving up a home run, in three appearances.

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