I wonder if Austin is doing anything after the game tonight? Hey, if a group of crows is called a murder, why isn’t a group of ravens called a homicide? Why are they called the Baltimore Ravens again? Oh yeah, Edgar Allen Poe. Maybe I should go by my full name? Wait, what is my middle name again? Heh, remember that Blink-182 song? Loved that song. I wonder-
(loud crack of the bat)
(huff huff huff)
shit shit shit shit shit shit shiiiiiiiiiiit shit shit shiiiiiiiiittttt
(the sound of a scorched baseball smacking directly into the pocket of Dylan’s glove)
Oof ahh uhh oooof, ayyyyyy
(the sound of 20,000+ Mariners fans roaring a mixture of approval, disbelief, and gratitude)
Dylan Moore had a winding, but fairly typical, path to the majors. Drafted back in 2015 by the Texas Rangers, then traded to the Atlanta Braves for “other considerations” in 2016, where he spent the next two seasons on the farm before being released. Signed as a free agent in 2018 by the Milwaukee Brewers, he spent some time in Double A with the Biloxi Shuckers before finishing the season with the Colorado SkySox (now the Rocky Mountain Guy Fieris). Moore found himself a free agent yet again and was signed by the Mariners. Never a hyped prospect, he was there because the non-contending 2019 Mariners needed infielders. Expectations were not especially high for Moore. He was just, more or less, A Guy on the Roster.
Then came the 3-error inning. Not just any inning, but the 9th inning of his first MLB start against the defending World Series Champions Red Sox (possible incoming asterisk?). In spite of the 3 runs scored due to the 3 errors, the Mariners still won the early season tilt and Dylan Moore lived another day, briefly becoming a lightning rod for low-hanging fruit criticism of a team that no one really expected to be good. Moore pushed on and continued his season, learning and developing along the way and getting playing time at literally every position except catcher. He even pitched one inning in a blowout loss to the Rangers on April 27.
I will now piggyback off a brilliant post by dearly departed LL staffer Nick Stillman, who found that Moore changed his stance and swing over the course of the season, going from holding his hands and the bat up high and crouching to a lower hands/more upright stance. I’m sure you can guess why. It was nice to see Moore join the Launch Angle Revolution along with many hitters last season, as he elevated and celebrated his way to a fairly respectable first full season in the majors, particularly for a utility player.
Dylan Moore, Utility Guy, may be a name that is ultimately lost in the sea of less than memorable Mariners players, only to resurface on a challenging Sporcle quiz down the road. But, he did end 2019 with an exclamation mark.
The season was winding down and the time had come for Félix Hernández’s final start with the Mariners. Moore was stationed in left field, not exactly his natural position, and Stephen Piscotty blistered a line drive to Moore’s left. It was the kind of rising shot that can easily just eat an outfielder alive if they make one false step, which as Nick noted, Moore did just that yet somehow recovered. I was there, in the ol’ King’s Court. I saw Moore throw his left arm up, roll to the ground, and felt the stadium absolutely erupt around me. Out number 3. Félix’s night likely done with as minimal damage allowed as could be hoped for. That catch was a gift. It was a gift to a franchise icon who’d given every last drop of his ability to the Mariners, that pitch one last drop of sweat being wrung from his body. Dylan Moore gave the gift of allowing a franchise icon the chance to walk off the field with his head held high.
Dylan Moore is just A Guy on a Roster, yes, but he was there for all of us when it mattered. Let’s see where 2020 takes him.