Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:31 pm

By Matt Snyder

Admission time: This is the matchup I've been most looking forward to in this series. In judging from the comments on occasion, it seems that some fans become angry when we speculate about what might happen in the future. I couldn't possibly be more in disagreement with that sentiment. Thinking is fun. There's no right answer yet, so why not just make an educated guess on which player will end up with the better career? In fact, I think it's much more boring in the offseason to discuss what has already happened than to try and surmise what is coming next.

So we're going to do some looking ahead here and ask that you do the same. We're going to go with two young pitchers who appear to have ace potential, but the sample sizes we have seen in the majors aren't very big -- and with one of these guys, he's already undergone major arm surgery.

It's Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals against Matt Moore of the Rays. A righty against a lefty -- and both with gobs of potential.

The case for Strasburg

This one could be spun whatever way one wants, based upon any preconceived biases. We could say Strasburg was the most heavily-hyped pitching prospect since Mark Prior ... And look how he turned out! Or we could say Strasburg is the most heavily-hyped pitching prospect since Roger Clemens.

Then there is the Tommy John surgery. There have been players that had their career ruined by the procedure, so focusing on them suits the Strasburg haters. Of course, nowadays the procedure is successful at a very high rate and you could go down the list of names like Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, John Axford, Jaime Garcia, Shaun Marcum, Brian Wilson, C.J. Wilson, etc. etc. etc.

Would You Rather Have
What if Strasburg stays healthy the rest of his career and does what he's done his entire life: Dominate the opposition. That's an ace for about 15 years.

Strasburg, 23, was the first overall pick in the MLB Draft after making collegiate hitters look silly for a few years. In 17 minor-league starts, he's 8-3 with a 1.90 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. In 92 major-league innings, Strasburg is 6-4 with a 2.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 116 strikeouts against just 19 walks. This past season, he was even more dominant upon his return from Tommy John surgery, putting up a 1.50 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 24 innings. He only walked two hitters.

He's going to have his innings capped at 160 this season to protect him in recovery, but starting in 2013 -- assuming full health -- watch out.

The case for Moore

Unlike Strasburg, Moore built himself into a huge prospect while in the minors. He wasn't hyped heading into the draft, as the Rays snagged him in the eighth round. Still, the 22-year-old left-hander was utterly dominant in 2011. He was promoted to Triple-A midseason, where in nine starts he went 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. He was so good the Rays felt that was all the time he needed before hitting the bigs in September. Moore made a pair of relief appearances and then one start: Against the Yankees. He did not disappoint, striking out 11 hitters in five shutout innings, picking up in the all-important win as the Rays were chasing down the Red Sox in the wild-card race.

Then, manager Joe Maddon felt comfortable enough with the rookie (he'll still be a rookie in '12, by the way) to start him in Game 1 of the ALDS. And Moore was nails. He threw seven shutout innings against the mighty Rangers in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the majors. He struck out six while allowing just two hits, two walks and a hit batsman.

On top of all that, the Rays have locked Moore up with an incredibly team-friendly contract through 2016 -- but club options could keep him away from free agency until 2018. On the other hand, Strasburg's agent is Scott Boras, so the Nats won't have near as easy a time in keeping him.

Our call

I think the question comes down to if you trust Strasburg's arm to stay healthy. Moore looks like he has perennial All-Star potential, but Strasburg has Hall of Fame talent. I like gambling, so I'm going to go with Strasburg. If you're conservative with selections like this -- and want to factor in contract status in a major way -- Moore is the pick. But I'm not conservative on issues like this. Gimme Strasburg and the possibility of him winning a handful of Cy Youngs.

Fan Vote:

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Since: Jul 28, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2012 4:53 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Ok, Stasburg could have issues so lets just get that out there from the beginning. That said, I went back and looked at Prior's throwing motion from the first two years of his career and he is in no way similar to Strasburg. I would almost call Prior a short armer, throwing with a heavy elbow action that puts tremendous strain on both the elbow and the shoulder. At the time of foot landing, his arm was cocked at almost a 90degree angle to his torso with the call held just above his ear. He also threw with very little tilt to his upper body. He bent over a bit after delivery to give the impression of follow through but was extremely upright.

Strasburg throws with a whipping motion, more akin to Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson and drives well with his lower half. He also gets good turn on his torso as he loads up.

Prior is more similar to Josh Johnson in my view. Johnson is a big guy who sort of overpowers the body mechanics to create arm speed. Strasburg is more loose limbed and appears to create great velocity and movement through the torque process.

I think Strasburg creates strain on the elbow because of the speed of the arm action but not by virtue of the mechanics themselves. 

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:54 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

It's a close call for me but I think I would take Moore. The two reasons are that really good, potentially great, left-handers are so hard to come by.  The other reason is the elbow injury ( even though with Tommy John surgery he probably will be fine).  They are definitely both impressive and seem to have very bright futures.   

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: January 21, 2012 10:52 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

I think the injury question is a big draw back for Strasburg.

The word about the inverted W is that guys like him Wilson,
Prior etc. first blow out their elbows then they come back and pitch well.  If they don't fix the W the shoulder is next
to go.



Joba Chamberlain is another example of the W who blew out
his elbow.



I say why take a chance with Strasburg when you have




The new Stud the Yankees just got has the same problem.  He has already had soreness in his
elbow.  Some say that the Mets were able
to pry Wheeler away from the Mets was because he has the W and there are
concerns for his longevity as well.     

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: January 20, 2012 3:54 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

I have Matt Moore in my Minors. We keep 12 players and 5 Minors I try and Keep Minors that will play the next season so I can draft around them Matt fits my team the Yankees simply besause he's a good lefty strikout king. Matt still may get more strikouts than Stephen pitching in the AL don't forget the extra strikouts NL with the pitchers hitting? Matt looked great agains't my Yankees last year Tampa has a very good team Washington hasen't done too much in off season but the longer the Prince is unsigned Washington still has a chance Washington has 3 power hitting 1st basemen in the Minors Russell Moldenhauer Chris Marrero and Tyler Moore so to spen that kind of money to go for the now realy may not be worth it but if they can get him cheaper than expected go for it.I look for Matt Moore and Paul Goldschmidt to be rookies of the year in bouth leagues and I own them both I have Miguel  Cabrera at 1st and Paul at corner infield good power conbo there. So as a Yankee fan I'd take Matt Moore on my team

Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:00 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Cooper called it "an upside-down arm action." One
major league pitching coach years ago told me about the exact same concern
about Mark Prior -- before Prior broke down.
The biggest concern for guys with the inverted "W" is not the motion itself.  There's a # of guys who throw with that arm action, it's the fact that Strasburg plants his lead foot before he's done loading his throwing arm.  If you've pitched at any truly competitve level, you'll know that once you plant your front foot, you should already have some sort of forward arm motion.  If it's still carrying the full load of force, that's when the inverted W starts to wear on your shoulder.  

True, Strasburg does this, but there's plenty of pitchers who have had successful careers with the same issue.  Does it make him more of a risk than a guy who doesn't do it?  Sure, but for this arguments sake he's more injury prone, but I don't think there's a credible resource out there who says Moore has better stuff than Strasburg. Remember, when things were working for Strasburg, he struck out 14 in his debut game (each player in the opponents starting lineup among those 14).  He struck 8 of the 14 out with his fastball, which means he's more than a one pitch pony.

The injury question can be the only thing that stands in the way of taking Strasburg over Moore. 

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:43 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

i might take strasburg, he is a fantastic pitcher with a bright future. Its also rare that a pitcher has tommy john surgery twice in his career.  

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: January 20, 2012 9:32 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Sorry to post a new comment but one person here said that my
comments were not true


This from

Cooper says this, forming what pitching coaches call an inverted W -- and the
back of his shoulders pinch toward one another in the "scap loading"
portion of the delivery. Such a delivery, some pitching coaches believe, puts
him at greater risk of shoulder fatigue.

Cooper called it "an upside-down arm action." One
major league pitching coach years ago told me about the exact same concern
about Mark Prior -- before Prior broke down.

There are many other article that go into greater
detail.  The first thing to go is usually
the elbow and unless they change the shoulder is next

 He has comeback and
still has not many any changes to his mechanics.


To me that is why I would take Matt.

Since: Jan 26, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2012 8:23 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Don't mean to put up my second comment in a row but after hearing yours your 100% right. After an 100mph fastball I've seen him buckle the knees of MLB hitters with his curve. I wished he pitched for my team the St.Louis Cardinals. We all know they have Carpenter and Wainwright ( if his TJ was sucessful ) but if we had Strasburg We could drop that piece of shit Westbrook. Sorry way too much coffee this morning. Good luck Nats.

Since: Jan 26, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2012 8:11 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Canuck I couldn't agree more. I was an all-league pitcher in school ( I know big whoop ) but this kid is electric. If he get's back close to his original form there will be people buying up MLB package just to watch him pitch every 5 days and that means $$$$ to a lot of vendors. Being a pitcher myself I couldn't help but orderup. He seems to have the confidence to go with. I've already jumped on board. That being said Moore is outstanding but I would still rather see Strasburg every 5 days. Each to his own.

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: January 19, 2012 7:24 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

You have to admit Moore's stuff was on the money late last yr. I definetly would pick him over Strasburg. Moore's strikeouts per inning is impressive. Strasburg most likely will see the dl each season a few times while Moore in the Ray's system will only get better.

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