Moya – also reported as Steven Mercedes by some outlets – was considered one of the top power prospects in the 2008 international signing period, but his stock fell as other players soared leading up to the first day of signing. As other players signed, Moya continued to sit on the open market, and as his asking price fell, the Tigers swooped in to sign the big Dominican. The same trio that signed shortstop prospect Javier Azcona – Miguel Rodriguez, Ramon Perez, and Miguel Garcia – put the finishing touches on Moya's deal that set him to play in the DSL in 2009.
Moya stands out in any room because of his size, regardless of the fact that he is still only 18-years old at that size. The 6-foot-6 left-handed batter has incredible raw strength with the ability to drive balls out of the park from foul pole to foul pole. His power is a legitimate plus Major League tool, with some scouts daring to suggest he could have 80 power as he fills out his frame. "He has as much raw power as anyone in our Latin American programs," said Director of International Operations Tom Moore before the 2009 season.
While his power is his calling card, Moya has a good understanding of the strike zone and he can work counts and turn in professional at-bats. He has already begun improving his selectivity at the plate, and if that continues, he could start seeing his skills translate to the field even more than they already have. Steven's swing can get long at times and seem uncoordinated, but most scouts believe that will dissipate as he matures both physically and mentally.
Moya is an average runner who could lose a touch as he fills out, despite his above-average athleticism. He gets solid jumps on balls hit to the outfield, but he has room for improvement in all facets of his defensive game. His arm is strong, though often inaccurate, and he has a very good head for the game.
Moya is an exceptionally hard worker with a strong desire to improve and play professional baseball at the highest of levels. He takes very well to coaching and while he has an immense amount of natural ability, his work ethic and determination are likely to be the difference makers for him.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% R
It is early in his career, but Moya has not suffered any major injuries to date. His work ethic, athletic body, and desire to have a strong workout schedule should aid in him avoiding some injuries.
It was a successful debut season for Moya, as he posted a solid .252/.361/.372 line as a 17-year old in a league often dominated by pitchers. Moya flashed more in-game or usable power than most scouts expected this year, blasting six home runs and eight doubles, which is a great sign for his future.
Moya's next test will come this fall as he participates in the Tigers' Fall Instructional League at TigerTown. Expectation remain high for Moya despite still being raw, and the time in front of the bulk of the organizational staff this fall will likely serve him very well. With his coachability and raw talent, the Fall Instructional League could be a spring board to a trip back to Lakeland for spring training and a possible assignment to a stateside team in 2010.
Moya's pure ceiling is off the charts, but progress isn't always going to be rapid. He still has plenty of physical growth to undergo, which can often slow development as he adjusts to his new body. As he continues to add strength and gain a better understanding of what pitchers are trying to do against him, Moya could become a serious power prospect with 35-40 homer potential.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.