Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Adding Moustakas to the Young Nucleus


The feeling in this hot stove season is that the Braves would prefer to move Martin Prado back to third base (his best position) while trying to find two outfielders. However, with talk last offseason and again recently that Mike Moustakas might be available by the Kansas City Royals the Braves should look to make him part of their young nucleus. The Braves would be a good trade partner for the Royals who are looking to add young starting pitching and the Braves are one of the only teams with a surplus of young talent at that position.

Moustakas will be entering his third season in the majors (second full season) and at the age of 24 would fit right in with the potential growth of the other young Braves, first baseman Freddie Freeman, right fielder Jason Heyward and shortstop Andrelton Simmons who are all 23 years of age.

While he started slow when he was first brought up in 2011 (5 HR, 30 RBI in 89 games) Moustakas progressed in his first full season in 2012 (34 Doubles, 20 HR, 73 RBI, .412 SLG and .708 OPS in 149 games), although on the downside his batting average was low at .242 and he struckout 124 times. While he is an average third baseman defensively, Moustakas does make all the routine plays at the hot corner. By already having a sensational defensive shortstop with the range that Andrelton Simmons has, Moustakas’ range should not be an issue for the Braves. Add to all this the fact that the Braves would be paying him only $487,250 in 2012 and have Moustakas under their control until 2018, the Braves would still have plenty of cash to bring in a leadoff hitter/center fielder and improve their bench.

 

Despite the fact that Moustakas would be another left handed hitter in the Braves lineup the chance to add another young player to the already young nucleus should be considered. The Braves could still find a leadoff hitter/centerfielder that is a righthanded hitter and/or if second baseman Dan Uggla can bounce back from a poor 2012 he could be moved up in the lineup.  The potential growth plus cost effectiveness of adding Moustakas to the young nucleus would be a smart move for the Braves to make.

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Braves Offseason Mike Moustakas

  • fireboss

    Moustakas is the Royals 3B because Alex Gordon couldn’t play there at the major league level. Against lefty starters his line last year was (.228/.266/.377) and as you said he’s an average fielder. The Braves have a left handed 3B they who has a canon for an arm, a good glove, real raw power and in extended play hits right handed pitchers better and lefties at least as well. Why trade for Moustakas when Juan Francisco is as good or better and has power Moustakas wishes he had?

    • Lee Trocinski

      His defense was much better than average this past year. UZR had him at +17, DRS at +15, and TZ at +9. His RF/9 and Fld% were both much better than league average, just to show those numbers didn’t come out of thin air. I do agree that it would be unnecessary to give the Royals players to get something close to what we already have, though Francisco is not as polished defensively.

      • fireboss

        I yield to your UZR (ultimately zero reality) on Moustakas, as an AL player I only see him in highlights. Francisco has better arm and was learning to play 3B better under Chipper and Pendleton. I actually quite like Francisco’s upside which I think is higher and at 24 he has time to learn not to strike out so much and to hit better than his weight -which I hope drops over the winter with the personal trainer and extra daily workouts- against lefties. Ideally someone would take Uggla letting Prado play second, the new and improved Francisco third and Justin Upton in left with Span in center. Of course I’d like to win the lottery too sooooooo…..