Dylan Moore has been the staple utility player for the Seattle Mariners since his age 26 2019 season. It’s been a back-and-forth year-by-year basis on which Moore the team gets. In 2020 and 2022, he boasted above-average OPS+ numbers, and in odd years, he was well below average.
So, which Dylan Moore can we expect in 2023?
It is difficult to predict based on previous trends, especially when looking at his Baseball Savant numbers, numbers that have significantly fluctuated on a per-season basis. In the shortened 2020 season, he was one of the most well-rounded hitters in the entire league.
He had red circles in the following stats: max exit velocity (69th percentile), sprint speed (72nd), average exit velocity (77th), hard hit percentage (78th), xwOBA (73rd), xSLG (68), barrel percentage (89) and chase rate (59). The holes in his game were his plate discipline and defense, as he was below average in the field and did not see many pitches.
Then, in 2021, he became one of the better utility defenders in the league and rarely chased. He was in the 97th percentile in outs above age and 90th percentile in chase rate. The bad part was that he seemingly sacrificed his ability to hit the ball hard, being in the bottom 10 percent of a majority of the stats he was above average in just the previous season.
Moore’s stats also reflect his nature of on and off again production:
2019: 113 games, .206/.302/.389 9 HR 28 RBI 87 OPS+
2020: 38 games, .255/.358/.496 8 HR 17 RBI 138 OPS+
2021: 126 games, .181/.276/.334 12 HR 43 RBI 71 OPS+
2022: 104 games, .224/.368/.385 6 HR 24 RBI 122 OPS+
Despite his rollercoaster-esque production, there has been some steady improvement in certain areas. One area is his walks per strikeout rate. His rate has improved every season since his debut, going from .027 to .045 walks for every punchout. He has also changed his approach to focus on fly balls, at about a 50% flyball rate.
Over his career, he has evened out as a slightly below-average hitter with a 97 OPS+, and previously discussed on SoDo Mojo, STEAMER projects that Moore will struggle again in another odd year in 2023. But what do FanGraphs, baseball reference and I say about his production for 2023?
The biggest caveat for Moore is that he is expected to platoon. His career OPS is .741 against lefties and .676 against righties. Despite the fact that he will mostly be batting against his strong side over all of 2023, I still expect him to struggle.
Comparing my own prediction to that of the other two, I remain slightly more skeptical than the other two. Being in a utility role and with the trends of odd years for Moore will lead to a rough year where he will be unable to get anything going, leading to a below-average season close to his career OPS+ of 97.
I like Dylan Moore, so I hope that I am wrong and he could even play himself into a near everday role, but I try to remain as realisitic as I look into the Mariners future.