KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Third baseman Mike Moustakas has gone from a first-round draft choice to a potential cornerstone of the Royals franchise to a potential bust who was demoted to the minors a little over five months ago.
Moustakas is a postseason hero with a franchise playoff-record five homers and, once again, a potential cornerstone of the Kansas City franchise.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore, in his season-ending news conference Wednesday, stated emphatically that Moustakas, whom many fans had given up on prior to October, is the team’s third baseman now and in the future.
"Moose is a winner," Moore said. "He loves to play baseball. You’ve heard me say that many times. We’ve always had complete confidence that he’s a guy who can contribute.
"With every young player, they’re going to go through ups and downs. But we feel Moose has a chance to potentially win an MVP someday. That’s how we feel about him."
MVP? Well, no one was talking about that possibility when Moustakas hit just .212 with a woeful .271 on-base percentage during the regular season.
But all of the negative talk about Moustakas faded in the playoffs when he hit five homers and two doubles and posted an .817 OPS.
Plus, there were all the defensive gems from Moustakas in the playoffs as well.
"What you saw from him in the postseason is someone who embraced the moment," Moore said. "He had a lot of big hits.
"He has a tremendous ability to stay focused throughout an entire game and throughout an entire 162-game season because he loves to play the game. He’s just going to keep getting better and better.
"It would be very, very difficult for us to find a better alternative than Mike Moustakas at third base. Not that we’d be looking for one, but it would be very difficult to find one better than him. He’s our third baseman going forward."