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Gabriel Moreno Making Big Impact With Diamondbacks

MLB/Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno
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Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno could be a significant difference-maker in 2024. He is coming off a productive 2023 season that ended even better than it began. His goal is to become the best catcher in the National League.

Get ready for the 2024 season with Prime Time Sports Talk’s MLB coverage.

First Full Season

In his first full season, Moreno stepped up after a Spring Training injury forced Carson Kelly to miss significant time. Moreno appeared in 111 games and put together a decent season, hitting .283 with a .325 OBA. The Diamondbacks went 61-50 in his 111 games.

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Gabriel Moreno’s Injury

After trying to play through inflammation in his shoulder, Moreno went on the injured list on July 23. However, when he returned, he hit .322 with a .407 OBA. That can be attributed to adjusting his swing with hitting coaches Joe Mather and Damion Easley. That adjustment led to a cutdown on his strikeout rate, too. Additionally, upon his return, he seemed to have the self-assurance he lacked during the first half of the season. He was more relaxed and concentrated on playing baseball, and it showed.

Gabriel Moreno’s Defense

Moreno’s defense behind the plate has allowed him to stand out. He had 20 DRS and also led the league with a 39 percent caught-stealing rate. He also ranked among the top 10 catchers in blocking runs. Moreno did everything that was asked of him and beyond, becoming the first Diamondbacks catcher to win a Gold Glove award.

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Big Decision

Moreno delivered a strong second half in 2023, forcing the front office to make a difficult decision on their previous starting catcher, Carson Kelly. Arizona originally acquired Kelly as part of the Paul Goldschmidt trade in December 2018.

Manager Torey Lovullo knew he had an up-and-coming franchise catcher for the next five-plus years in Moreno. In the end, the organization made the decision to designate Kelly for assignment on Aug. 13, ending his Diamondbacks tenure.

Excellent Trade

On Dec. 23, 2022, the Toronto Blue Jays traded Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Daulton Varsho. At the time, Moreno was regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball. Within a matter of months, the addition of Moreno emerged as one of the best trades in Diamondbacks history.

Gabriel Moreno: Only Getting Better

Gabriel Moreno will only get better going forward. He is a run-stopper and a strong, accurate thrower. He calls the game well and has already become a leader at just 24 years old. Offensively, he will continue to grow, especially as a power hitter.

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Moreno was one of the biggest reasons for the team’s success last year. If he can have a full season similar to the second half of his 2023 campaign, he could blossom into the National League’s best catcher.


Main Image Credit:

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