The Tigers were very fortunate to ink Moya during the 2008 international signing period. Moya was considered one of the elite power prospects in the signing class, and through no fault of his own, his stock slipped and he fell to the back burner as the July 2nd signing period opened.
The Tigers swooped in on October 1st and got the deal done with Moya for what some sources have indicated was a low six-figure bonus. Despite the late signing, Moya was set to take the field with the Dominican Summer League Tigers in 2009.
Moya's debut in the DSL was a significant success and many observers gave rousing reviews of the 17-year old's debut performance. In 60 games, Moya hit at a .252/.361/.372 clip with 33 walks and just 58 strikeouts. Moya ranked in the top five on the DSL roster in many offensive categories, including average, OBP, slugging, RBI, walks, home runs, and doubles.
After what many considered such a successful debut, the Tigers brought Moya stateside for the Fall Instructional League. Moya received plenty of time in front of the organization's best coaches and instructors, and was praised as one of the hardest workers in camp throughout the fall.
Moya's game is about power and strength, two traits which the young teenager has in spades. His enormous frame and natural strength give him a big league body now, just as he turns 18-years old. Moya has a classic power stroke, with great leverage in his swing and a high finish. He easily blasts majestic shots from the left side, and as he refines his stroke further, those shots could become even more regular. The Tigers were working diligently with Moya during Instructs to get him to better incorporate his lower half in his swing. The lessons were clicking quickly and you could easily see Moya taking them to heart and trying to incorporate them at all times.
Aside from his power, Moya does have other offensive tools. Despite his raw athleticism, he shows signs of having an average hit tool and a good understanding of the strike zone. Because of his size, his strike zone is much larger than many players, but he doesn't expand his zone trying to hit pitches he can not drive. He can be susceptible to breaking balls, lacking the consistent pitch recognition to allow him to lay off them routinely.
Moya is still developing physically, and a large part of that involves him gaining additional coordination and awareness of his body in space. He is an average runner once underway, but he is not terribly graceful at this point, and some scouts believe he could lose a notch of speed as his body continues to fill out. He has a well above-average arm that will play in right field as long as he can maintain his speed and improve his defensive instincts.
After extended exposure to him this fall, every coach/instructor I spoke with raved about Moya's makeup and work ethic. He is an exceedingly hard worker that loves playing the game and wants to improve in every facet of his game. The combination of raw talent and a pure desire to play at a high level, gives Moya an exceptional package on which to build. He has an outrageously high ceiling, but he is also a long ways from reaching that ceiling.
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.
There is little doubting Moya's plus-plus power potential, with more than a few scouts throwing future 80 scores on his power. After witnessing him hit some bombs during Instructs that left mouths agape, there is no question that Moya could be a 35-40 homer type player.
It may take a while for everything else to come together for Moya, largely because there is a lot of physical development remaining, but he has the potential to be a classic slugging corner outfielder with average defense and a strong arm. One scout suggested a move to first base may be in his future, but several others see him holding down right field because of his natural athleticism.
Moya is a good bet to come stateside for the 2009 season, and when he arrives, he will immediately be one to watch during spring training and beyond. He will almost certainly remain in extended spring training, and be assigned to either the GCL or Oneonta clubs in June. There is no real timetable for Moya's big league arrival, as he is a long way from setting such expectations, but he should be monitored closely to see if he can piece together his impressive skills to become the top notch power prospect many envision.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.