Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Prospect Matt Moore's no-hitter a glimpse into the future for Tampa Bay Rays

While David Price labored through a loss to the Red Sox on Thursday night, something special was happening with the Rays' Double-A affiliate. Pitching prospect Matt Moore threw a no-hitter, the first complete game of Moore's career and the first no-hitter in Montgomery Biscuits history. It was also the first time all year Moore lasted beyond the sixth inning or cracked 100 pitches thrown.

Take a long, hard look, Rays fans: You are getting a glimpse into the future.

Entering this season, there was only one prospect in the Rays' system that Baseball America rated higher than Moore: Jeremy Hellickson. While Hellickson has flourished in the majors, Moore has been putting on a show down in Double A, striking out a phenomenal 103 batters in only 772/3 innings pitched, or nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings.

This should not be too surprising, as Moore led the minor leagues in strikeouts the past two seasons and has averaged 12 strikeouts per nine innings at every level of the minors thus far. But it's one thing to have success in the low minors; it's another thing entirely to continue this dominance in Double A at the age of 21 (before his birthday Saturday).

For comparison, Price averaged around nine strikeouts per nine in Double A, and Jake McGee — who was once the top strikeout machine in the Rays' minors — averaged "only" 10 at that level; Price was 22 years old, while McGee was 23. Moore's level of dominance is unprecedented for the Rays.

Moore is not without his weaknesses. He throws a hard fastball and a plus curve, but he has struggled in the past with his command and with lasting deep into games. After offseason surgery to remove a bone chip from his throwing elbow, Moore has started off this season strong, averaging only 2.7 walks per nine innings.

He still needs to work on pitching deeper into games, but if he keeps up his recent success, he could enter next year ranked as one of the top five prospects in baseball and could reach the major leagues as early as late next season.

The Rays depend on their minor-league pitching depth to keep their major-league team competitive, rotating in top prospects on a yearly basis. It's unclear which starter will be the next to leave — James Shields and Jeff Niemann seem the likeliest candidates — but one thing is clear: The Rays have another ace on the rise.

Steve is the Editor-in-Chief of DRaysBay.com, a blog on the Tampa Bay Rays that specializes in analysis and statistics.

Prospect Matt Moore's no-hitter a glimpse into the future for Tampa Bay Rays 06/18/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 18, 2011 6:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  2. Lightning journal: Tighter defense fuels hot start

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — See what happens when you keep the crease clean, limit the traffic in front of G Andrei Vasilevskiy and limit Grade A scoring chances.

    BUZZER BEATER: Yanni Gourde gets the hugs with a goal with less than 1 second left in the first. 
  3. Red-hot Rowdies win playoff opener

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies entered Saturday night's United Soccer League playoff opener as the league's hottest team. First-round opponent FC Cincinnati did nothing to cool them down.

    Marcel Schafer carries a Rowdies teammate on his back after scoring his second goal against Cincinnati in Saturday night’s USL playoff game at Al Lang. Up next: another home game, Oct. 28 against New York Red Bulls II.
  4. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Those wide-open, end-to-end, shoot-at-will games are a lot of fun to watch, especially when those shots are going in the net. But if the players had their druthers, they would rather have a more controlled pace, one with which they can dictate the action.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Lightning-Penguins game

    Lightning Strikes

    Man, is Nikita Kucherov fun to watch. He has a goal in all but one game this season and points in all nine. You have to watch him each time he is on the ice because he is going to do something you do not want to miss: a goal, a shot that requires a tough save, a nifty pass to set up a linemate for a goal.