Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays Pitching Sensation, Will Win AL Rookie of the Year

Wyatt Sinclair@@WyattSinclairContributor IFebruary 22, 2012

The kind of determination needed by a Rookie of the Year winner.
The kind of determination needed by a Rookie of the Year winner.Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Coming into the 2012 MLB season, much of the baseball world is focused on the rookie starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Having drawn comparison to Stephen Strasburg, Matt Moore knows that people are expecting big things out of him.

The Rays continued following their game plan with their young players, as they rewarded Moore's potential with a five-year, $14 million contract before even joining the starting rotation.

While Moore should see some competition from the likes of the Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, LA Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, Toronto Blue Jays's catcherTravis D'Arnaud and Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Moore will be able to push through this competition, much like he did in the minor leagues.

Matt Moore is going to be your 2012 AL Rookie of the Year, and for good reasons.



Matt Moore has some of the best pure stuff in baseball, let alone for just a rookie.

An easy delivery combined with a mid-to-high 90s fastball, a sharp breaking low 80s slider and a plus change-up are nothing to scoff at.

Combine that with the fact that Moore struck out almost 40% of the right-handed batters that he faced during the 2011 season, and he isn't even 23 years old yet. When a left-handed pitcher can dominate right-handed batters that well, good things are bound to happen.



Moore isn't the type of player to step down from the spotlight. In fact, it's possible that he's going to be the player that plays even better in big games.

His first Major League start was against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. How did the 22-year-old respond to facing one of the most lethal line-ups in the Majors?

Exactly how any future star would—Moore pitched five innings of four hit ball with 11 strikeouts, a single walk and no runs allowed.

Clearly having some faith in Moore, skipper Joe Maddon decided to give Moore the ball to start the ALDS against the vaunted Texas Rangers offense.

When asked how difficult it was to put the ball into the hands of the 22 year old rookie, Maddon responded by saying,

"You have to be able to handle the moment. You have to have the right pulse or the right heartbeat. He does. He just does. I mean, I don't know him for a long time. I have had different conversations with him. He looks you right in the eye. His answers are straightforward. He already shows that he's very accountable, and that's a big part of what we do here. We need accountability to be good."

Moore, in just his month or so with the team, had proven to Joe Maddon that he was capable of taking the ball in a big game.



This could be a huge selling point for the lefty and could also end up being a downfall for Moore's RoY campaign.

It's not easy growing up in the AL East. Last season, David Price had a 4.42 ERA and John Lester had a 4.76 ERA playing in that division.

That doesn't mean that it can't be done though. Just last season, Jeremy Hellickson, a teammate of Matt Moore's, won Rookie of the Year with a 2.95 ERA and 13 wins.

Matt Moore shouldn't have any worse than a 3.50 ERA in his rookie season, which should be more than enough to help him run away with the AL Rookie of the Year.