The 2022 MLB Draft will begin on July 17, 2022. We take a look at Robert Moore, an athletic middle infielder from Arkansas with tremendous upside.
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Robert Moore, Second Baseman, Arkansas
Weight: 170 lbs.
Stats: 60 G, .223/.366/.420, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 42 R, 38 BB, 44 K, 5 SB
Moore became an immediate starter for the Arkansas Razorbacks in the back half of the 2020 season after he enrolled early. The switch-hitter had a great partial season in the NCAA, then came back with an equally strong full campaign in 2021. Although his offensive production took a step back this past season, the talented middle infielder is still viewed as a legitimate draft prospect who should hear his name called in the first couple of rounds. The 20-year-old is the son of Kansas City Royals president Dayton Moore, who certainly won’t be the only executive clamoring to draft his son this July.
Moore’s switch-hitting ability is an instant plus since it gives him an advantage against both left- and right-handed pitchers. With that said, he performs better from the left side of the plate. When batting lefty, Moore is able to produce more solid contact and better pop. Overall, Moore has good bat speed and approaches each pitch with an aggressive yet reasonable mindset; he won’t let his aggressiveness translate to unwarranted swings at pitches out of the zone. Moore stays balanced, draws a fair amount of walks, and is a solid baserunner.
The infield is where Moore shines brightest. Although he played shortstop in high school, the Razorbacks needed him at second base, and he did not let them down. The Kansas native plays with fantastic instincts and a great internal clock, meaning that he doesn’t rush unless the play necessitates it. Perhaps most impressive, though, is the speed at which Moore gets the ball from his glove to hand. This happens in one fluid, instant motion, giving him plenty of time to retire runners with his strong arm. Although Moore played second base in college and measures just 5-foot-9, there’s no doubt that he’ll get a shot to play shortstop in the pros. He certainly has enough range and arm strength to survive on the left side of the infield.
In terms of strengths, Moore’s overall high motor, athleticism, and baseball IQ have allowed him to find success in all parts of the game, whether it be at the plate, in the field, or on the basepaths. He consistently hustles and embodies everything that teams want in a hard-working ballplayer.
Although praise for Moore’s hitting approach is warranted, his .223 batting average in 2022 was concerning. Without a lot of power, Moore needs to be able to produce base hits at a higher rate than he did this past season. If he can’t, he will have trouble progressing through the minors. Undoubtedly, Moore’s slump this spring hurt his draft value and could possibly drop him outside of the top two rounds. Additionally, Moore’s 5-foot-9 height could leave teams feeling unconfident about his future at shortstop, which will also play a role in when he’s drafted.
Pro Comparison: Tommy Edman
Edman has spent the last three-plus years gracing the infield for the St. Louis Cardinals. So far this season, he has 48 appearances at second base and 21 at shortstop (plus one in center field). Although Moore might end up committing to just one position rather than bouncing around between two, Edman is proof that someone of his profile (5-foot-10 with decent speed and impressive fielding) can survive at either middle infield position. Offensively, Edman is hitting .285 with seven homers, a 9.2 percent walk rate, and a 16.6 percent strikeout rate. Just like Moore, Edman hits from both sides of the plate and throws right-handed. The biggest difference is that Edman swiped 30 bags last season and already has 15 steals this year, whereas Moore is more of an average runner.
Draft Projection: Early Third Round
If not for his early-season slump in 2022, it would be easy to project Moore as a second-rounder. However, he had his struggles and so here we are. Despite his underwhelming offensive stats, Moore did enough to salvage a solid draft slot and signing bonus. His prowess in the field coupled with his all-around athleticism and grittiness have undoubtedly caught the attention of all 30 teams. It would be shocking to see him fall outside of the top-100 picks, and it’s very possible that he’s off the board before his father turns in the Royals’ selection at No. 87.
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