By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
March 2, 2013
Riley Moore is my kind of ballplayer and has been ever since I went up to San Marcos to see him play a few of those dreary Channel League games. I never forgot the Area Codes BP before his senior year, nor did I forget that I had to wait like five days to see him get a start. It just goes to show you that sometimes the guys with the most upside get completely ignored when it’s between a guy on media lists and a guy not on media lists. The media does not scout. The baseball industry scouts. And that’s why in the long haul, Riley Moore is going to win.
This is some video of him catching in his freshman year for the University of Arizona, where it should be noted that not many college baseball teams win the College World Series with two freshmen playing up the middle at key positions — Moore behind the plate and Trent Gilbert down at second. Neither of these two guys got a whole lot of attention on that club, but to me, you could not find two position players with more pro upside than either of them.
He’s seen here hitting the season Arizona won the College World Series. I don’t have a whole lot to say. The talented hitters do all the work for me.
The thing with Moore is that I think people need to fight off the temptation to move him out from behind the plate. I’ll tell you why. For starters, he can throw. I’m quite confident putting the 5 on the arm and I’ve put 6 on it some days, too. So if you go 6 arm and 6 left-handed power behind the plate, what kind of major leaguer is that? That’s a damn good major leaguer. That’s a player worth dreaming on at that position.
Second, Moore is tall. Most catchers these days, as we have discussed, are getting smaller. But let me tell you something. Branch Rickey himself would have loved Moore. When Rickey built the Cardinals farm system, he had a rule that no catcher shall be under 6-3. Why? Because the position demands so much physical endurance that Rickey did not think the shorter, smaller, perceived-to-be faster types could withstand the rigors of a full season. True, there have been some shorter catchers, but those guys are thicker. Moore is tall, lean and thin, yet to fill. He’s an athlete — why on earth would you want to move an athletic catcher out from behind the plate, at least in the early stages of his career, especially when you know he can’t run?
Moore held his own with the bat as a true freshman and everyone got to see him hit in Omaha. I don’t think people outside of baseball understand the commitment it takes to be a true freshman catcher in the Pac-12. The work that goes into it. The blocking drills, the work with the pitching staff, the weight room work, the extra hitting — not to mention the school responsibilities — coupled with the fact that if you play for Lopez, you gotta do your job, or you won’t be playing for long. It’s not rocket science, it’s just execution. So here you go — here’s Moore — hard-nosed country ballplayer — and you want to talk about moving that out from behind the plate?