Matt Moore being called up
UPDATE, 11:04: The Rays have now confirmed the move. The team press release appears below.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are calling to prospect LHP Matt Moore. He will join them Monday in Baltimore.
Moore, 22, emerged as one of the top prospects in the game with a spectacular 2011 season, going a combined 12-3, 1.92 with 210 strikeouts in 155 innings at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. He also started Game 1 of the International League playoffs, taking the loss after allowing 3 runs on 9 hits (with three strikeouts) in 6 2/3 innings.
Moore, with a fastball clocked in the high 90-mph range, will join the Rays today in Baltimore as the bullpen is shorthanded with closer Kyle Farnsworth sidelined due to elbow tenderness.
The Rays will have to see how Moore handles the transition to the bullpen, and if it goes well he could play a key role as LHP David Price did in 2008. A similar move last year with RHP Jeremy Hellickson didn’t work as well. LHP Alex Torres, another prospect, is also expected to be called up this week.
The Tampa Bay Rays have selected left-handed pitcher Matt Moore from Triple-A Durham. The 22-year-old will join the team tomorrow in Baltimore and will wear No. 55.
Moore went 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA (155-IP, 33-ER) in a combined 27 starts for Double-A Montgomery and Durham. He ranked second in the entire minor leagues in ERA, strikeouts (210) and opponents’ batting average (.184), and led all minor leaguers with 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He went 8-3 with a 2.20 ERA (102.1-IP, 25-ER) in 18 starts for Montgomery and earned a July 22 promotion to Durham, where he went 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA (52.2-IP, 8-ER) in 9 starts. Despite the midseason call-up, he was named (Double-A) Southern League Pitcher of the Year and was named to the All-Star Team at two different levels—the Southern League’s midseason squad and the International League postseason All-Star Team.
His 210 strikeouts broke the organizational record for a Rays minor leaguer, breaking his own mark of 208 in 2010. In doing so he became the first minor league pitcher on record (since 1988) to record 200 or more strikeouts in consecutive seasons. Moore led all minor leaguers in strikeouts in 2009 (176) and 2010.
On July 10 he pitched in the XM All-Star Futures Game at Arizona’s Chase Field. He threw a no-hitter for Montgomery on June 16 at Mobile, the ninth in the history of the Rays organization (including majors and minors), totaling nine innings and 11 strikeouts.
Moore entered the 2011 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the Rays organization behind right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, but at midseason the publication rated him the top pitching prospect in the game and the No. 3 prospect overall. Baseball America also recognized him as the Best Curveball and Best Fastball in the Rays minor league system prior to the season.
The Rays selected Moore in the eighth round of the 2007 June Draft out of Moriarty High School (N.M.).
To make room for Moore on the 40-man roster, the Rays will make a corresponding move tomorrow.