Mike Moustakas on the decline?


The Kansas City Royals have a lot of young talent not only on their Major League roster, but also in their farm system. One of their top prospects from 2009 on is was Mike Moustakas. He made his Major League Debut on June 10 in 2011 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Mike has been at the hot corner for the Royals ever since. Unfortunately, to say he is playing well and improving would be a vast understatement.

Since 2011, Moustakas’ statistics have dropped in each of his first 4 years. Below is a graph to show his decline by season.


The season is still getting underway, so a complete comparison of this year to past seasons may be somewhat skewed, but the numbers certainly don’t lie. His average has significantly decreased over his first 3 years of service; while the start of his 2014 campaign doesn’t look promising either. WAR refers to a players’ “Win Above Replacement”. This sabremetric is being used more frequently now to determine a players’ ability; as well as it being a statistic that can benefit or hurt a players’ chance at a hefty contract. This stat is a combination of the five tools in which a Major League player is evaluated at, at their respective position.

As well as essentially declining in every major offensive category, Moustakas isn’t playing great defense either. His range factor and his fielding percentage have both dropped since his first full season in 2012. His RF and fielding percentage dropped from 2.95 and .967 to 1.77 and .948, respectively. Mike isn’t drawing walks either, as he owns a 6.4% walk to plate appearance ratio over his career.

The next question is; What do the Royals do? This is the second third basemen that was a top prospect, and was unsuccessful of being up to par with other Major League third basemen. Alex Gordon played the infield before the Royals decided to move him to the outfield due to his atrocious defense. Gordons’ offensive struggles were similar to Moustakas’s now, but Mike does play a better third than Alex ever did.

A few options the Royals can play with are: Designating him for assignment or option him to Triple A- Omaha. When a player is designated for assignment, a ball club can either place him on waivers, trade/release the player, or outright him from the 40 man roster and send him to the minors. Designating a player is a 10 day time frame. If the team places the player on waivers (which can be done in the first 7 days), any team can claim him.  It will be interesting to see if the Royals shop Moustakas or try to diagnose and re-analyze him as a franchise piece within their organization.

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