Matt Moore: Is He A Top 40 Starting Pitcher in 2012?

A brief post about Rays starter Matt Moore during my lunch hour.

Rays pitching prospect Matt Moore is starting the first game of the 2011 ALDS for the Rays tonight against the Texas Rangers. Many are questioning the idea of starting him as it will only be his second major league start. I disagree.

The Rays are a young team and have been built through the draft. Why not start your future ace in the playoffs? If this team is built for the now and the future, give him the experience when you can. There is no guarantee you will get to the playoffs next season, and you want him to feel what pitching in a pressure situation feels like.

Assuming he is in the Rays rotation in 2012, and I think he will, he will be pitching in plenty of pressure games against the Red Sox and Yankees, so get him in there to get a taste.

More on Moore, after the jump:

What can fantasy owners expect from Moore in 2012? I see him striking out plenty of batters in 2012. He struck out 10 Yankees in his first major league start, although the Yankees did rest a few of their regulars. Even still, he struck out 10 Yankees in 5 innings of work.

Here are Moore"s K/9 and BB/9 since 2007:

2007-20.1 IP, K/9-12.84 , BB/9-7.08

2008- 54.1 IP, K/9- 12.75, BB/9- 3.15

2009- 123.0 IP, K/9- 12.88, BB/9- 5.12

2010- 144.2 IP, K/9- 12.94, BB/9- 3.79

2011- 155 IP, K/9- 12.2, BB/9- 2.70

Moore has maintained his high strikeout rate, reduced his walk rate all while moving up one level at a time through the minor leagues. I can see him walking more than many would like, but most starting pitchers struggle with their command when they first make it to the big leagues.

Moore has ace written all over him, but it is a question of when.

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