Fantasy Baseball 2012: Matt Moore or Stephen Strasburg?

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 04: Pitcher Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Back on September 30th, I wrote this article on Rays pitching prospect Matt Moore after it was announced that he was starting game 1 of the ALDS vs the Rangers. In the poll section of that article, I asked if Moore was a Top 40 starting pitcher for 2012, and 88% of you said yes. Our own Robert Bishop ranked him as his #37 ranked starter for 2012 in his Early 2012 Starting Pitcher Rankings. In addition, Fake Teams new baseball writer Paul Rice wrote this piece on Moore on Friday night saying he should be on your radar on draft day in 2012, and could be a Top 15 starter in the near future.

In the comments section of Paul's article, reader and Fake Teams dynasty league owner, pooptalica commented that the Rays covet him greatly:

as to how highly regarded Moore is in the Rays’ organization, Stu has consistently referred to him as "something special." They look at him as just as valuable as Strasburg ever was, but without the injury expectation from any flaw in his mechanics. Team opinion places him higher than Price, Shields, and Hellickson.

"The Rays look at Moore as valuable as Stephen Strasburg" and " team opinion places him higher than Price, Shields and Hellickson". Those two comments got me to wondering who you would rather have in 2012.

"Moore" on that after the jump:

To help you decide, here are their minor league stats, courtesy of Baseball-Reference. I chose their minor league stats due to the fact that Moore has had just a cup of coffee in the big leagues.

Stephen Strasburg

Year Age Lev W L W-L% ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 21 AAA-AA 7 2 .778 1.30 11 55.1 31 14 8 1 13 65 0.795 5.0 0.2 2.1 10.6 5.00
2010 21 AA 3 1 .750 1.64 5 22.0 13 9 4 0 6 27 0.864 5.3 0.0 2.5 11.0 4.50
2010 21 AAA 4 1 .800 1.08 6 33.1 18 5 4 1 7 38 0.750 4.9 0.3 1.9 10.3 5.43
2011 22 A-AA-AAA-A+ 1 1 .500 3.54 6 20.1 14 9 8 1 3 29 0.836 6.2 0.4 1.3 12.8 9.67
2011 22 A+ 0 0 0.00 1 3.0 2 0 0 0 0 5 0.667 6.0 0.0 0.0 15.0
2011 22 A 0 1 .000 9.95 3 6.1 9 8 7 1 3 13 1.895 12.8 1.4 4.3 18.5 4.33
2011 22 AAA 0 0 1.80 1 5.0 2 1 1 0 0 7 0.400 3.6 0.0 0.0 12.6
2011 22 AA 1 0 1.000 0.00 1 6.0 1 0 0 0 0 4 0.167 1.5 0.0 0.0 6.0
2 Seasons 8 3 .727 1.90 17 75.2 45 23 16 2 16 94 0.806 5.4 0.2 1.9 11.2 5.88
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2011.

Matt Moore

Year Age Lev W L W-L% ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2007 18 Rk 0 0 2.66 8 20.1 12 6 6 1 16 29 1.377 5.3 0.4 7.1 12.8 1.81
2008 19 Rk 2 2 .500 1.66 12 54.1 30 22 10 0 19 77 0.902 5.0 0.0 3.1 12.8 4.05
2009 20 A 8 5 .615 3.15 26 123.0 86 51 43 6 70 176 1.268 6.3 0.4 5.1 12.9 2.51
2010 21 A+ 6 11 .353 3.36 26 144.2 109 62 54 7 61 208 1.175 6.8 0.4 3.8 12.9 3.41
2011 22 AA-AAA 12 3 .800 1.92 27 155.0 101 39 33 11 46 210 0.948 5.9 0.6 2.7 12.2 4.57
2011 22 AA 8 3 .727 2.20 18 102.1 68 31 25 8 28 131 0.938 6.0 0.7 2.5 11.5 4.68
2011 22 AAA 4 0 1.000 1.37 9 52.2 33 8 8 3 18 79 0.968 5.6 0.5 3.1 13.5 4.39
5 Seasons 28 21 .571 2.64 99 497.1 338 180 146 25 212 700 1.106 6.1 0.5 3.8 12.7 3.30
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2011.

As you can see, Moore spent a great deal more time in the minors, throwing 420+ more innings in the minors than Strasburg. While Minor was handled with kid gloves in the minors through his age 18-21 seasons, Strasburg was pitching for San Diego State University. Here are his 2008 statistics:

Year ERA W-L IP H R BB SO

2008 1.57 8-3 97.1 61 25 16 133

2009 1.32 13-1 109.0 59 16 19 195

While Moore's stats came against minor league players, Strasburg's came against college competition. I don't know how much difference there is between college and Rookie League/Low A players, but I have to assume the Low A hitters are better than many college hitters. so Moore faced tougher competition at the age of 18 and 19.

Strasburg's minor league stats are more impressive than Moore's, but was accomplished in just 17 games and 75 innings pitched, while Moore appeared in almost 100 games, and threw almost 500 innings. Some would say Strasburg didn't need the time in the minors, since he dominated college hitters for two seasons. I think Moore could have made it to the big leagues sooner than he did as well. To flush out the small sample size of Strasburg's minor league career, one could look at their career K/9 and K/BB stats:

Strasburg- 11.2 K/9, 5.88 K/BB

Moore- 12.7 K/9, 3.30 K/BB

Moore had some control problems early in his minor league career, while Strasburg has been the better control pitcher, but Moore has been the better strikeout pitcher, which is a bit surprising.

What can we expect from both in 2012? I imagine Moore will be in the Rays rotation to start the 2012 season, but he could be placed on an innings limit. Then again, he threw 155 innings in the minors last season, with an additional 19.1 innings in the big leagues, including the playoffs.

Similarly, there has been talk that Strasburg may be limited in 2012 as well, which makes sense if the Nationals aren''t n the running for a wildcard spot.

Robert ranked Strasburg about 20 places higher than Moore in his Starting Pitcher rankings, but I think they will be closer in the end of season rankings. Both will provide owners with solid strikeout rates, a low ERA and WHIP, but wins are difficult to project.

What do Fake Teams readers think?

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