Atlanta Braves Scouting Report on IF Dylan Moore

May 12, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; A detailed view of a baseball glove and bat before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves snagged Dylan Moore from the Texas Rangers in a three-way deal that sent away outfielder Jeff Francoeur. What kind of player did they get?

Who Is He?

Dylan Moore was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 7th round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Central Florida. He was an “old” senior, already being 22 when drafted, so he was selected as a guy who would sign for cheap as likely organization filler with that draft slot.

Moore split time between short-season Spokane of the Northwest League and low-A Hickory in the South Atlantic League in his draft season. Combined, he hit .271/.376/.454 with 21 doubles, 7 home runs, 15 stolen bases, and a 32/65 BB/K ratio over 282 plate appearances. He played 43 games at second base, 14 games at shortstop, and 3 games each at first base and third base.

Moore was a true utility guy in 2016. He started with Hickory and was promoted to high-A High Desert of the California League in early August. The Braves assigned him to high-A Carolina once they acquired him, and he finished the season on the AA Mississippi Braves roster during their playoff run after Ozzie Albies went down with his elbow injury.

Moore played every position on the field except catcher in 2016, even pitching one game. He played 78 games at 1B, 23 games at SS, 11 games at 2B, 7 games at 3B, 4 games at LF, 3 games at RF, and 1 game in CF. With Carolina after the Braves acquired him, he played 6 games at first base, 3 games at shortstop, and 2 games at third base.

Offensively, Moore had a monster season. While his rate stats certainly got a bump from his promotion to the hitter-friendly Cal League, the 80 plate appearances didn’t sway his line that much compared to his 535 on the season. His final line combined on the season was .269/.379/.441 with 29 doubles, 14 home runs, 42 stolen bases, and 63/95 BB/K.

Scouting Report

Moore is listed at 6′ and 185 pounds. That could be a few pounds light, as in he could be in the 190-200 pound range, but not much more than that listed weight. He’s certainly got a fairly lean build. He’s a right-handed hitter and thrower.

Hitting

Moore has a wide base in his stance. He comes through the zone very quick with his bat, and has good hand speed in his swing. He is able to fight off pitches and keep his strikeout rate under 20% due to that solid swing path. His entire swing is very quiet, with minimal body movement in his swing load.

His build is not huge, so he doesn’t strike you as having big power, but his quick swing and minimal movement puts his hips and shoulders in prime trigger mode together frequently, which allows him to generate more power in his swing than his build would probably portend. Moore is able to fight off a pitch with more power than most, which led to a lot of singles and doubles on pitches that many guys would only be able to foul off or ground out on.

I was impressed when pausing one particular broadcast in a swing how Moore gets his load into a perfect spot to drive. His bat path in the zone has a solid slight uppercut motion, pushing the bat through the zone with lift, allowing for more line drives and fly balls on his contact, which is always a good thing.

Base Running/Fielding

Moore may never be a guy to steal 40 bases in the major leagues, in spite of his 42 steals this season. However, he is a tremendously smart base runner, and even with better catchers as he moves into the upper minors, he’ll most likely be a guy who will steal 15-25 bases with a very good percentage. To this point in his minor league career, he’s been successful on 82.6% of his steal attempts.

Moore’s base running intelligence comes in play most obviously when he is legging out extra bases as a guy behind him is putting the ball in play. It was tough to see in Carolina’s lineup as he was inserted in the #3 spot in the Mudcat lineup, and the other two consistent threats in the lineup, Travis Demeritte and Keith Curcio, were ahead of him in the lineup, so he frequently was not being moved around much once he was in Carolina, but watching him in the playoffs with Mississippi, it was fun to see him tag from second to third on one play to center where most runners wouldn’t have even tried, but he noted the fielder not checking him at all and positioning to throw once he caught the ball, and he took off, getting an extra base. He did end up stranded at third, but those extra bases do turn into extra runs more often than not.

Then we get into fielding. Moore was a college shortstop, but there’s a reason that he’s been a utility guy in the minor leagues so far. Moore has a solid arm, though it’s not strong. He can handle third base or left field with his arm, but he probably does not have enough arm to be a guy that you put in right or center field very often. He has very sure hands on the balls he gets to, making few errors and showing good instincts on when to throw the ball over and when to hold the ball. The biggest issue with a long-term position for Moore is his range. He has the build that’s more ideal for a middle infield spot, but not really the range to play either spot full-time. He’s not really got the arm you’d want every day at third, more like an arm that can fill the position in a pinch for a week or two. He’s small to play first base long term. It leads into him being a nearly-ideal utility guy as he doesn’t hurt you at any position even if he isn’t the ideal starter at any of them.

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Future Outlook

The first time I watched Moore at the plate, I really didn’t have a great comparison for him, but as I watched him in the field, I started to feel like I’d seen him before. Then I found one game with him playing shortstop and fielding a ball to his right, and the movements and throw immediately clicked. Moore is the spitting image of one of my favorite early 1990s Montreal Expos, Mike Lansing.

Lansing was a college guy who went in the 6th round of the draft out of Wichita State and he came up at an older age as well, debuting in 1993 at 25 years old. Lansing played mostly second base in his career, though he played over 100 games in the majors at both short and third base as well.

The similarities are more than just their defensive utilityman skillsets. Lansing had a solid gap power approach that produced 20 home runs in 1997 for his career high, but he eclipsed 30 doubles four times in his career. Lansing was also more a smart base runner than he was an elite runner, and he stole 20 or more bases three times in his career as well. The downfall to all of this is that by starting at 25, Lansing had only a 9 year career before he was out of the game. I could see a similar path for Moore working his way to the majors with a sub-10 year career if he did make the majors, but having a solid career in that time, like Lansing did, hitting .271/.324/.401 for his career with a per-162 average of 12 home runs, 37 doubles, and 17 stolen bases for his entire career.

Moore showed well in the playoff run with Mississippi, and I’m sure that he’ll be at Mississippi to start 2017. Interestingly, he may have a clear path to playing on the left side of the infield as he’ll be alongside Travis Demeritte to start the year. Moore is 23 at this point, so he’ll not really have a ton of time for development, but I will not be surprised to see him really click and move to Gwinnett in 2017. However, he was available as a piece of a late-August trade for a reason, so remember that in viewing his upside. There’s a solid, gritty, instinctive ballplayer here, but if you have guys with tools as loud as Swanson, Albies, and Demeritte in your system, he’s likely a future utility guy.

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