Steven Moya: The Outfield Mondo

Baseball is no stranger to height. Typically, we find the tallest of players hurling from the mound, but that’s not the case for one 6-foot-7, 260-pound right fielder.

“Everybody wants to hit that good pitch, I just have to do it more often.”

Steven Moya, a top-10 organizational prospect for the Detroit Tigers, signed with the club in 2008. Since then he’s accumulated seven years of minor league service time and 33 plate appearances in the majors between 2014 and 2015, but has been the man of constant struggle.

Moya’s status with the Tigers started gaining traction in 2014. He finished his 2014 Double-A campaign batting .276 with 35 home runs and made it to the show for eight plate appearances with three hits and two runs. It seemed he was on his way up, until J.D. Martinez delayed Moya’s shot at a roster spot.

The door to the majors opened again for Moya, with free agency/retirement escorting Torii Hunter out and Austin Jackson a part of the three-team trade that gave the Tigers David Price. However, his 2015 Triple-A stint didn’t meet expectations. A less-than-impressive .240/.283/.420 line and 162 strikeouts plagued the season. Twenty-two at-bats with the Tigers ended in 10 strikeouts, three walks and four hits.

“Know what was thrown… have patience… never too much thinking, just go out there and get it done.”

The colossal outfielder entered this year’s spring training with no promise of earning a roster spot. Justin Upton‘s six-year, $132.75 million contract proved that much. Pitch recognition and plate discipline is an apparent issue, but he’s shown improvement after hitting .367 in 30 at-bats with only five strikeouts.

When asked if he looks for a certain pitch, Moya responded, “No, I just react to it.”

He reacted well enough to hit a home run off of Ken Giles while battling the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Florida, during spring training. He also managed a ground ball single through the shift, to which he responded, “Thank God it went through.”

Moya admitted he felt that his bat power was below satisfaction “because it’s not enough,” but he’s currently sitting at .289 in 76 at-bats with five home runs with Triple-A Toledo this season. Though he continues to improve, a roster spot isn’t in the foreseeable future. Moya won’t find playing time unless he’s with another team, or his numbers shoot through the roof in the minors and onto the major league level.

At 24-years-old, he’s got time to wait, and execute his perfect game plan.

“Don’t strike out. Just play and have fun. Look for that good pitch to hit every time I have the opportunity to go there. That’s pretty much what I’m working on.”

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