2020 was an amazing year for Dylan Moore. Despite his rookie offensive and defensive struggles, Moore hit a batting line of .255/.358/.496, had an .855 OPS, and had a 0.5 defensive WAR. While Moore will most likely find a home at second this coming season, the super-utility player also has experience at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, leftfield, centerfield, rightfield, and yes he also pitched an inning.
Moore was able to have these high offensive numbers due to his unexpected power that saw him rank in the top third percentile for xwOBA, xSLG, exit velocity, hard-hit %, and barrel %. He also would have hit 11 home runs if every game was played in T-Mobile park, 3 higher than his actual total of 8.
His OBP that was over .100 points higher than his batting average was also a product of his league average walk rate and 8 hit-by-pitches. However, the HBP’s did take a toll on Moore as he got hit in the head twice and was forced to miss the last few games of the season due to a concussion.
The major problem last year for Moore was his 43 strikeouts in 159 plate appearances which gave him a K% in the 26th percentile of all MLB hitters. He got fewer fastballs and more offspeed pitches thrown to him as compared to 2019, but this could be looked at as a good thing as Moore received more offspeed pitches and still had a much better season than in 2019.
Moore was also still good in September, which was his worst month, as he had a .793 OPS in 71 plate appearances in the final month of summer.
What can we expect the Mariners Dylan Moore’s game to look like in 2021?
Baseball Reference‘s projections have Moore with a batting line of .230/.325/.426 (.751 OPS) in 2021 and Fangraphs ZiPS projections have him at .219/.302/.385 (.687 OPS) for next season. However, based on breaking down Dylan’s game here is a realistic expectation from me and an optimistic prediction.
Realistic expectation: .225/.320/.435 .755 OPS 18 home runs
Optimistic prediction: .250/.375/.490 .865 26 home runs, leads the league with 25 HBP’s, top 3 in the league with 40 steals
Im noticing a theme here that with my “Expectations for Evan White in 2021” blog and this one that my realistic expectation pretty much matched up with Baseball Reference’s prediction both times. My realistic expectation is because of the probable decline in Moore’s numbers from his hot and short 2020 season, but he is still a different hitter than he was in 2019 and still puts up good numbers for a second baseman.
My optimistic prediction comes from the hope that Moore will get less fastballs and less pitches to hit, which will lead to more walks. Along with his league-leading 25 HBP’s his OBP shoots up to .375. While his power numbers drop slightly, I optimistically think that his power was not a fluke and that his power to all fields continues.