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Tacoma Time: Andrew Moore brings stability to Rainiers rotation

Moore will start for Triple-A Tacoma tonight.

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Over the last couple weeks, I’m not certain we’ve given the Tacoma Rainiers the pats on the backs and the showings of support they deserve. Seemingly every day the Mariners come along to pluck one, maybe two–maybe three(?)–pitchers away from the Triple-A club, leaving the Rainiers with an equally chaotic pitching staff. The solutions have been of the creative variety. Nathan Bannister was called up from High-A Modesto to start a few nights ago. Rafael Pineda, a 26-year-old with one appearance above High-A ball under his belt, threw two-thirds of an inning for them. Paul Paez, Brett Ash, and Lane Ratliff have all appeared out of thin air. 19-year-old Michael Rivera is hanging out. Things have been weird, and I’ll give five dollars to anyone who can name the Rainiers’ full roster off the top of their head without cheating at this very moment. They could really use some stability at this point in time.

Cheers, love. The cavalry’s here.

Andrew Moore, the Pacific Northwest’s favorite son (forget it, we’re rolling) has returned home and will officially start for Tacoma on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Baby Cakes. And while there’s always the chance Moore is shipped back to Arkansas immediately after the game, I’m not so sure they’ll be willing to play affiliate pinball with one of their more highly-praised prospects.

The promotion comes after Moore jumped out to a strong start with Double-A Arkansas, striking out 33 while allowing just eight earned runs and nine walks in 34.2 innings. This, of course, all following his tremendous 2016 campaign.

Moore is nearly unanimously considered to be one of the two or three best pitching prospects in the system, depending on how you feel about Max Povse and Nick Neidert (who has been phenomenal this year and will get his own feature piece very soon). I had him ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the system back in February and had this to say about him:

Moore’s raw stuff won’t impress you at first, but plus-command and his general ability to keep hitters uncomfortable in the box help his stuff pop more. Fastball sits anywhere from 89-92 and will run up as high as 93-94 on occasion with decent tailing action. Changeup is arguably Moore’s best pitch; it has a fair amount of movement and he’s comfortable throwing it in any count to both lefties and righties. He’ll throw his curveball and slider for strikes, but he struggles to generate swings and misses with both. 12-6 curveball shows better potential, as his slider behaves like an 80 mph cutter a majority of the time.

Moore likes to work as quickly as possible on the mound and is very fluid between catching, setting, and throwing. Mechanics are interesting. Windup is fairly accelerated and plays a part in his ability to keep hitters uncomfortable.

General knowledge says that the lack of secondary offerings and inability to generate a ton of swings and misses puts his ceiling at a No. 4 starter. Moore has managed to outperform expectations so far, so I won’t be shocked if he pitches himself above that ceiling.

This has all remained the same, for the most part. The biggest change I’ve seen from Moore is that opposing hitters are starting to put more balls in the air–be it of the line drive or fly ball variety–against him, including four home runs over his past four starts. I’m not really sure what this means yet, but seeing him go up against Triple-A competition certainly should give us a clearer picture. The strikeouts and walks have also traveled north, but once again, small sample size and all that jazz.

In Moore, the Rainiers should find a reliable option capable of giving them 5+ strong innings virtually every start.

As for the opponent, Moore couldn’t have found a much more favorable matchup. Cheney Stadium is one of the more pitcher-friendly venues in the Pacific Coast League and the New Orleans Baby Cakes are dead-last in the league in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Moore, a Eugene (OR) native and star pitcher at Oregon State University from 2013-2015, will be taking the mound in Tacoma at 6:05 PDT. The crafty kid is officially back in the Pacific Northwest. May he never leave it again (except for, you know, road trips and vacation and the country-wide World Series parade and stuff).